Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Obama: I Prayed With That Crazy Pastor Before I Prayed Against Him

De Spiegal explains why Democratic superdelgates cannot do the right thing and vote for Hillary over tarnished pretty boy candidate Barack Obama. Therefore Mr. Obama should voluntarily end his campaign for the good of the Democratic party, and the nation.

Yeah, like that's gonna happen. Get ready for President McCain and a 100 years of war!

Blame Mulroney For World Food Crisis

Because one of the driving forces behind the Harper bio-fuels plan is the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association (the CRFA), who helpfully ran pro-ethanol ads for the Tories back in early 2007(*).

Because the CRFA is nothing more than the front group for a consortium of agri-businesses, numbering Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) among their members.

Because on the ADM Board of Directors is one M. Brian Mulroney.

All makes sense now, doesn't it?

(*) And whose executive director, Kory Teneycke, quit the CFRA last November to become the Tory's head garbologist.

Just as an aside, environmentalists have always looked askance at ethanol. It has been embraced by governments because it allows them to multi-task, giving them a green sheen and throwing a bone to an established, powerful constituency (farmers) all in one fell swoop.

Nice Idea. Why Wasn't It The Liberals'?

All Conservative MPs in the Commons voted Tuesday against a Bloc Québécois motion calling on the House “to express its full and complete confidence in Elections Canada and the Commissioner of Elections Canada.” The motion passed 152-117 with the combined support of all three opposition parties.

Very clever. Keeps a scandal in the news. Keeps the Tories playing defense. Why do we need the Separatists for this kind of thing? I am having a "Let's all separate together, so I can vote BQ" moment.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

CIC Peace Offering To Macleans/Steyn

Word comes of an offer from the CIC to settle the Macleans/Steyn human rights complaint. The press release is here, and Warren has some speculation as to what's in the offer. It will be interesting to see whether Macleans takes the deal or decides to fight on. Kay suggests that, for purely commercial reasons, Macleans will choose the latter course as this issue has served to give them credibility among Conservative readers.

I'm not so sure. As I say, outside the blogosphere, I don't think this issue has any profile at all. If it has had an effect on Macleans' circulation, I imagine this can be measured in dozens of copies. In any case, taking Macleans down the same diasastrous path as the National Post, which has managed to make itself the national newspaper for about 2/3rds of the nation, is surely a dangerous strategy.

Martians, AGW Deniers, and The Wiki Wars

An inadvertently interesting piece by the Financial Post's denier in chief Lawrence Solomon, in which he highlights how battles over wiki edits can reflect upon and highlight larger cultural, political, and scientific struggles. At issue are conflicting edits to the biography of one Siegfried Frederick Singer, a once prominent atmospheric physicist who has descended in later years to climate change denial and hacking out contrarion opinion pieces for a number of Conservative journals.

Of particular concern is an edit concerning Singer's views of the Martian Moon Phobos. Presently (but for who knows how long) it reads:

In 1960 Singer supported the suggestion of Russian astrophysicist Iosif Samuilovich Shklovsky that the Martian moon Phobos was of artificial origin[10].

In an recent interview, Solomon asked Singer:

“Do you really believe in Martians?”[...] The answer was “No.”"

So is the matter settled? Is wikipedia wrong? Not at all! Because you see Solomon asked the wrong question. The right question is: did you at one time believe that the moon Phobos was an orbiting Martian space base? And to this question, Singer did, back in the early 1960s, answer:

"I would be very disappointed if it turns out to be solid," said the white House advisor[Dr. Singer]. If the figures were correct, he stated, then Phobos undoubtedly is a hollow, artificial satellite. If it is, he said, its purpose would probably be to sweep up radiation in the Mars' atmosphere, so that Martians could safely operate around their planet. Dr. Singer also pointed out that Phobos would make an ideal space base, both for Martians and earthlings.

Wikipedian Fred Bauder makes an interesting argument in the comments in the article, not as to the truth of the above statement, but to its relevance in the greater scheme of Singer's career. To which I would reply that the most important aspect of Singer's career for today's wiki reader is his intellectual decline, and the wiki article accurately reflects the fact that the seeds of this decline may have been planted very early on.

Incidentally, the "nasty" William M. Connolley mentioned in the comments is this fellow, one of my favorite climate bloggers (and ex-climate modeller). William actually occupies the Conservative end of the AGW consensus, so you can often read him on his blog giving James Hansen hell for allegedly going beyond the evidence.

PS Singer eventually changed his mind over Phobos.
PPS. An earlier post about an interesting study of the sociological conditions that produced the first wave of climate change deniers, Singer included.
PPPS. For more interesting observations by Bauder on Singer, see here.

What Buckets Has Been Up To Lately

In addition to showing to everyone's satisfaction that Richard Warman did not post the Anne Cools Message, he has been making some quietly powerful arguments against the notion that Warman "lied" about setting up the also infamous "Lucy" account at Freedomsite.

In short, the version of the transcripts recording Warman's "confession" that you are likely to have come across on the websites of the usual suspects have been subtly altered in a manner that leads the reader towards a "guilty" conclusion. Seen in their restored form, they hardly seem as compelling.

But click on the link and let Buckets do his thing.

Or is it Bouquets?

Monday, April 28, 2008

James Rajotte: Meet Glenn Bahr

Glenn Bahr:

Tory MP James Rajotte responding to a constituent letter from Glenn Bahr:

One of the "particulars" in one of the cases against Glenn Bahr:

You know I'm feeling better these days about the whole idea of a Spring election...don't know why.

The CHRC: Like James Bond, But EVIL

As Dr. Dawg notes, Ezra Levant has graduated to openly accusing CRHC employees of criminal acts in the strange case of Nelly Hechme and her hacked wireless account. And he does it all on the say-so of Neo-Nazi Marc Lemire.

Given the abysmal coverage of this story in the MSM, it is entirely unsurprising that Ms. Hechme might think that she has been spied upon by The Feds. However, the content of her latest interview with Canadian Press makes this even less likely:

Hechme disputed an initial media report that her wireless Internet access was unsecured and therefore easily hacked. In fact, she said, it required an encryption key that could not have been guessed or casually cracked.

When she forgot the key, even she couldn't access the connection, she said.

"It was so secure to the point I couldn't get into it (so) I'm not sure how they got into it. It's very bizarre."

Since most of the initial news reports on this issue came through the National Post, its not surprising they were bung jobs.

However, lets run back through the two operative theories of how the CHRC might have gotten access to Ms. Hecme's wifi:

1) From CHRC headquarters at 344 Slater (Ottawa, Ont.), a distance about about 400 meters from Nelly Hechme's condo, and through a block of office buildings, commission staff located Ms. Hechme's secure network and, employing super sekrit technology, hacked it.

Note: Your typical wifi connection is good for up to about maybe 100 meters, so probably the boyz from the Commission needed to use some additional super-sekrit technology to even pick up her signal through all the metal and concrete in between.

2) CHRC investigator Dean Steacey, who is legally blind, somehow transported himself to the doorway of Nelly Hechme's condominium building and hacked her secure wifi network from a car outside or the condominium lobby. This would alleviate the need for one set of super-sekrit technology to pick up her signal over great distances.

Wow! you're probably thinking that these guys must not only be Evil to the level of Magneto or Dr. Doom, they must have access to 23rd century tech support! Cue the black helicopters!

Except that, if Dean Steacey or any other CHRC employee bent on nefarious deeds had stepped outside the door of 344 Slater, they would have found themselves in range of any number of unsecured wifi outlets, as well as within 200 meters of a fistful of Starbucks, which usually have wifi service. So all their elaborate scheming would have been completely unnecessary.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Of Course It Can Be Done

Paul Wells wonders about the Republicans mounting a negative campaign against Obama, concludes that it is not only a possibility but a likelihood.

Watching the Democratic Primary I am reminded of a scene in "Primary Colors", which of course was loosely based on Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign. Travolta's Jack Stanton character has just unleashed his research machine on rival Freddy Picker, and uncovered evidence of a homosexual affair. Travolta says to aide Henry Burton: don't you think its better this all comes out now rather than in the general election when Picker can take the whole Party down with him?

Which is why I have no qualms about Hillary's tactics so far in the campaign. What she has uncovered about Obama's past (slurping lattes with former member of the Weathermen), and his own campaign's mis-steps (the Che Guevara posters, the crack about bitter gun-toting hicks) have almost certainly doomed him in the general election, and its time the Democratic Party realized it. Unfortunately, their youth wing, the MoveOn crowd, has rocks in its teenage head and won't abandon him.

All the Dems need to do this cycle is pick an old white guy from the Conservative wing of the party to send the Republicans out for some much needed time in the political wilderness. As I've said a number of times before, Hillary is that old white guy.

Your Daily Nazi: Weep For The White Supremacist Edition

A letter in which Glenn Bahr, founder of Western Canada For Us (WCFU), a now defunct racist group based in Edmonton, laments his harsh treatment at the hands of Edmonton's finest. Posted to both of those bastions of Free Speech, Free Dominion AND Stormfront.

Although Mr. Bahr's luck has been changing lately. As noted yesterday evening, he's found a supporter in Edmonton Conservative MP James Rajotte who, although he has kept himself carefully ignorant of anything beyond the "generalities" of Mr. Bahr's case, does know enough to know he's against Section 13.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Your Daily Nazi:Conservative MP James Rajotte First Conservative To Offer Support For Canadian Nazis

James Rajotte is the Conservative MP for Edmonton-Leduc; Glenn Bahr is one of the founders of Western Canada For Us (WCFU), a now defunct racist group based in Edmonton, Alberta. [1]. Glenn wrote James a letter bitching about Canadian Human Rights legislation, which he has run afoul of on at least one occasion, and found a sympathetic audience in Mr. Rajotte:

While I am only aware of the generalities of your specific case with the Tribunal and it would be inappropriate for me to comment without full knowledge of the situation, rest assured that I am in agreement with you that the Canadian Human Rights Commission (as well as similar bodies at the provincial level) has recently overstepped its original mandate and is in need of reform. Its mandate is to protect the human rights of Canadian citizens, not to curtail free speech and impose censorship on an open, democratic society.

I give you my assurance that when motion M-446 comes before the House of Commons it will have my support. Furthermore, the passage of M-446 in no way prevents the enactment of further legislation to reform human rights bodies in Canada, should the need arise in the future

For the most part, Stephen Harper has used the whip of leadership to stop wing-nuts in the CPoC caucus from going over the edge and off into 1990s Reform Party La La land. Reading Mr. Rajotte's response to one of Canada's premier white supremacists, it is easy to see the wisdom of this strategy. If Mr. Rajotte is unaware of the specifics of Mr. Bahr's case it is because he has not spent the 0.3 seconds necessary to google them. And while I suppose it is okay for the undisciplined monkeys of the opposition to contemplate tinkering with legislation that would objectively give Neo-Nazis a stronger foothold within Canada, you would think that a member of the governing party would have a little more maturity.

Forget Polar Bears! What About The Noble Fox Snake?

Word came in yesterday that the COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) has decided that the Polar Bear is not "endangered", instead recommending that it be dubbed a "Species of Special Concern", which is a lower form of protected status:

The Polar Bear was one of the most challenging species ever assessed by COSEWIC" said Dr. Jeff Hutchings, Chair. Extensive inventory, research, a wealth of Aboriginal traditional and community knowledge and the emerging threats posed by climate change and northern development were considered. In some areas, the bear appears to be increasing; in others it is declining. The reduction of sea ice, a consequence of increasing temperatures, is a threat to the species, especially in the southern part of its range. Future stresses on the population mean that harvest will have to be managed particularly carefully in coming years.

So I zipped over to the COSEWIC website and read up and tried to decide what my opinion was.

And my opinion, until someone smarter tells me different, is that this is a not bad Canadian compromise. While less than 100% protection, if you read the relevant parts of the legislation you will see that the new status requires the Environment Minister to produce a management plan and, more importantly in my view, he

...may adopt a multi-species or an ecosystem approach when preparing the management plan if he or she considers it appropriate to do so.

As the Polar Bear is protected, so too are the species needed to sustain it; it may become significantly more difficult to drill, log, hunt, or etc. within the polar bear's established habitat.

Now, there are a number of possible flies in the ointment.

1) The government does not have to accept the committee's recommendation. John Baird has three months to decide, and so far he has made happy sounding mumbling noises.

1) If the government accepts the recommendation, the Environment Minister has a whole 5 years to produce his plan. You would think that John Baird et al would want to move swiftly on an issue like this, to establish a few environmental creds, but with this government who knows?

2) As much as I like to think I am aboriginal friendly, the only innocent party in this debate is the Polar Bear. While on the one hand Inuit spokespeople have bitched about global warming, sometimes citing the fact that their people are seeing more polar bears as the poor starving dears move inland in search of food, on the other hand they have referenced the fact that more people are seeing polar bears etc. in support of the contention that the polar bear population is in great shape and the status quo is fine re hunting levels. Their whole traditional knowledge schtick--"Breeding levels are healthy. We can sense it on the wind."--is growing a bit stale when it comes to this particular issue.

But while we are on the subject of endangered species, I would be amiss if I didn't point out the obvious fact that people gravitate towards protecting animals considered "cute" or "majestic"--usually large mammels. However, there are all sorts of endangered snakes, bugs and birds also dealt with in COSEWIC's latest release, and nobody is paying any attention to them.

So, I personally would like to put in a word for The Eastern Fox Snake

Ranging from 3 to 6 feet in length, The Eastern Fox Snake is very quiet, and won't eat you, like a polar bear. It probably won't fetch to your morning newspaper, either, but that is no reason to deny it protection.

Finally, in all matters environmental, remember my motto: Animals are Innocent, and People are Assholes.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Because One Cheap Shot Deserves Another!

Jonathan Kay asks: Why are Dalton McGuinty and co. showing up at parades honouring Sikh assassins?

LOOK!!LOOK!! A Conservative politician standing next to a brown guy with a beard, that knows another brown guy with a beard, that knows a brown guy that knows a brown extremist guy with a beard that committed crimes once thousands of miles away. He's so totally busted!
And here's another question: why is Jonathon Kay allowing bloggers who think the Holocaust was a barrel of yuks onto the pages of what purports to be a national newspaper?
Or: what is Jonathon Kay doing saluting neo-Nazis as free speech heroes? Riddle me that, eh?

When Galaxies Collide

Stuff blows up real good!

Not as good as when the aliens from Independence Day blow up the White House, maybe, but excellent nevertheless. My fave from the Hubble Telescope's gallery is probably this one

This pair of spiral galaxies features a larger nearly face-on galaxy and its smaller, highly tilted partner. Tidal interaction from the smaller companion has clearly deformed one arm of the larger galaxy. The pair is surrounded by the glow of faintly shining stars and interstellar matter that has been smeared through space by the gravitational effects of the collision and the pull of a third nearby galaxy.

The St. John River, Past And Present

Browsing the CTV website today, I found this story about flooding on the St. John River:

And it reminded me...

In the early 70s, when my dad was still in the forces, we were stationed just across the river from Maugerville, at CFB Gagetown in the town of Oromocto. During the spring of 1973 The St John River experienced some of the worst flooding in its history.

Now, Gagetown is about 30 miles South East of the provincial capital of Fredericton (towards the upper left corner of the Google Earth image above, but out of the picture), and I remember our family trying to drive into town during the worst of the flooding.
Traffic was backed up where the river had topped the highway, and a couple of RCMP were keeping an eye on things should it become completely impassible. As it was, water came half-way up your tires and another few inches would have sent the cars literally floating away. I guess the police were there to close things down should that have started happening.
It didn't, but I remember seeing, on the North side of the highway (towards the river), a couple of teenagers row a canoe right in through the front door of their house, the rest of their family watching out the windows of their second floor bedrooms.

And on the South side, where the land fell away again to form a shallow basin, there was a car parked in water up to its windshield wipers. The owner had rigged a big wooden sign on the roof that read "For sale: $10, as is!"
New Brunswickers have always had a good sense of humour about such things.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

When Immigration Minister Diane Finley Heard

... that she had been threatened by criminal groups that oppose her efforts to block foreign strippers from entering Canada, she rose gallantly in the HOC and framed her response in rhyme:


When My DJ Cuttin'
I Fear Me Nuttin'
So There'll Be No Peelin'
While I be Wheelin'
Rulin' in a Gubment
Dat Be Righteous
In Legislatin'!


That's Stephen Harper, foreground right, making those weird rhythmic mouth noises.

Note to Self: WTF? Kinsella tries his best to make you famous and this is the best crap you can write? CBC's never going to call now!

PS. Someone will probably tell me that Finley is light sensitive and has to wear those shades, but that said I still think they make her look incredibly hot.

PPS. The government should use this opportunity to stomp any criminal outfit behind these threats. Stomp 'em good. And that's from someone whose a big fan of them Romanian girls.

FreeD: Stealing Intellectual Property In Order To Preserve Internet Hate?

This is going onto the t-shirts they're selling to raise money for their legal defense fund:

Get yours quick, because I don't think they'll be around for long.

h/t RB.

(Richard Warman, in case you've been living under a rock for the last six months, is the guy that's suing FreeD and others for libel)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

If The Temperature Does Not Soon Recover

...we will have to conclude that global warming is over.

Except that, by Phil Chapman's own methodology*, it already has recovered: Global land temperature in March sets record

Huzzah! The WLIA ( Wee Little Ice Age) is over.

*Not that I approve of his methodology, which is to compare one month temps (January to January) from this year to last. That tells you almost nothing.

But hey, gotta fight fire with fire.

More Fun With Manhattan Declaration "Qualified Endorsers", or: Joe Bastardi Makes His Brudder Deny

UPDATE: Tom Harris himself offers the following correction:

...the two Bastardis are father and son, both meteorologists.

Apologies to all involved. Of course this still doesn't explain why Brenda Murray, a coal industry consultant, is stuck on the "Citizen Endorsers" list while the rest of her family, also in the coal industry, are somehow judged to be "qualified".


Joe Bastardi, BSc, (Meteorology, Pennsylvania State), meteorologist, State College, Pennsylvania, U.S.A." not a surprise. Accuweather's expert senior forecaster has always been skeptical of the science behind AGW, and you would suspect that he would endorse the Manhattan Declaration against climate change alarmism.

But who is this fellow?

Matthew Bastardi, BSc (Meteorology, Texas A and M University), Florida, U.S.A.

Thanks to some lunch-hour sleuthing by John Cross, we find that he is almost certainly Joe's brother:

Coach, Great column as usual but your last piece on the abuse that men inflict upon women on Super Bowl Sunday was a bullseye with me! In my full time job I verify that the numbers are correct for over 3.5 million tax returns. It is equivalent to interpreting votes on a punched paper ballot without the politicalization!

Also, my brother is a prominent meteorologist specializing in long range forecasting- he goes nuts on the global warming- ista's and the data they cite to back up their half cocked notions. The point is, figures can lie and liars can figure!

The stories you presented today are a classic example of how, with all the data collection we have today in our lives, we have less and less truth because of the ability of people to manipulate it for their own intent. With 800 news outlets, it gets put out to the public, becomes "truth" and then never gets straightened out when someone digs and proves that it was bent to serve the purpose of some ideologue! Matt Bastardi, Skillman, New Jersey

Note that a "tax guy" is considered a "qualified" endorser, but Charles E. Murray's wife/daughter, Brenda L. Murrary, a mining consultant, only makes the cut as a "citizen endorser" of the Manhattan Declaration. Note too that

Juliet, Viscountess Monckton of Brenchley, U.K. also relegated to "citizen endorser". How she could possibly be more unqualified to express an opinion on climate change issues than our tax man, or her astoundingly clueless husband, for that matter, is beyond me.

So, are the folks behind the Manhattan Declaration both shady and sexist?

Update: When I wrangled my way onto the Oregon Petition (by lying about my qualifications), they were willing to send a fistful of extra petition cards to pass around to all my scientist buddies. Signing the The Manhattan Declaration is even easier, as it is all on-line. Just make up some shit about your scientific credentials (something about "de-glaciation rates" usually works) and join the team of experts against the AGW consensus.

DeSmog has more on this story here.

What Else Is In Those Boxes?

"You don’t just send Ian Brodie into the middle of what is a bit of a crime scene for capricious reasons. You don’t just send him lightly.'

And why did Brodie turn up?

'The fear is no longer about the in-and-out stuff,' the official said."

Conservatives party operatives and those in government interviewed for this story said they are trying to determine what classified material Elections Canada might have seized — and worrying that it could be released in a court case.

After two days of unfettered access to the party headquarters, Elections Canada made replicas of all their computer hard drives, carted off 17 boxes of documents and copied all of the party’s e-mails, Tory officials said.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Scandal? What Scandal?

Two days of presumably paid silence out of Bourque, the nation's most Tory news aggregator.

...although he has the crisis at Loblaws well covered.

Fun With The Manhattan Declaration, or: Who The Heck is Robert Murray?

Tom Harris, once of the Friends of Science, then of the NRSP, now of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), has published a list of

... individuals, all well-trained in science and technology or climate change-related economics and policy...endorsing the Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change.

The Manhattan Declaration itself declares that:

...there is no convincing evidence that CO2 emissions from modern industrial activity have in the past, are now, or will in the future cause catastrophic climate change.

Others will, no doubt, take a more thorough look at the list entries. For the most part they seem the same old gang of cranks, old farts, and fakes that typically turn up on this kind of thing. However, while skimming it, I found a couple of interesting and, as far as I can tell, new names. For example:

Robert E. Murray, PE, B. Eng. (mining engineering, West Virginia University), AMP (Harvard University); Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Murray Energy Corporation and Subsidiary Companies, Pepper Pike, Ohio, U.S.A.

Robert E. Murray is a mining mogul, Republican backer, and outspoken critic of AGW theory. Among his mines is the Crandall canyon mine, which collapsed last summer, trapping and killing six miners. While waiting for news of the six, he engaged in a long, meandering defence of his mining operation which included a tirade against the global warming "crusade" that threatened his business.

During an earlier career as a coal-mining executive for the North American Coal Corporation, Murray was allegedly visited by a "tiny, talking squirrel", which instructed him to go into business for himself. (To be fair, wiki notes that this story is "dubious")

Another name on the list is:

Robert Edward Murray, B Eng. (mining engineering, West Virginia University), MBA (Ohio State University), Vice President, Business Development and External Affairs, Murray Energy Corporation and Subsidiary Companies, Pepper Pike, Ohio, U.S.A.

This is either one of Robert E. Murray's three adult children, or he replaced his middle initial with his full name and signed the decalaration a second time, which would be cheating.

And then there's:

Ryan M. Murray, B Eng. (mining engineering, West Virginia University), MBA (Ohio State University); Vice President, Operations, Murray Energy Corporation and Subsidiary Companies, Alledonia, Ohio, U.S.A."

As far as I can tell, Ryan Murray is pretty clearly one of the adult children of Robert E.

Furthermore, in a supplementary list of "Citizen Endorsers" of the declaration ("non-qualified", one would presume), you find someone who is either Robert E.s wife (given as Brenda Lou Moore in wiki) or an adult daughter:

Brenda L. Murray, Consultant, Murray Energy Corporation and Subsidiary Companies, Pepper Pike, Ohio, U.S.A.

Nice to see that the whole family is involved, but this smacks of Sexism. What makes a lady mining consultant less qualified to have an opinion on the science of climate change than a couple of male Vice-Presidents of the same mining company?

Especially when one of the other "qualified signatories" on Harris' list is a water witch?

Monday, April 21, 2008

How Much Does Bourque Charge To Keep Your Story Out Of The Headlines?

Notice anything? No mention of yesterday's disastrous Tory press conference at all. First time in ages Bourque has done anything more than cop the from page of National NewsWatch.
Maybe Bourque was on the private guest list.

The Rock That Killed The Dinosaurs Had A Name

It was called:

Baptistina... a 170-km-diameter body (carbonaceous-chondrite-like) that broke up 160 Myr ago in the inner main asteroid belt. Fragments produced by the collision were slowly delivered by dynamical processes to orbits where they could strike the terrestrial planets. We find that this asteroid shower is the most likely source (>90 per cent probability) of the Chicxulub impactor that produced the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) mass extinction event 65Myr ago.

Probably just a couple of quick hits today. Looks like it will be a busy one, workwise.

They Scuttled Down A Fire Exit

The Wonderbabe (yes I have actually been given permission to call her that) has the story here. Watch them scuttle here, although "scuttle" suggests lean and bone-y and all the Conservative Ops you see in the video fleeing their own press conference seem on the soft, puffy side.

"Scubble", perhaps?

By the way, how surprising is it that Mike Duffy should be on the Tory list of "tame" journalists?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ezra Admits Defeat

I believe that things are going to get worse....

It will be an awful few years in Ontario. But, as Chernyshevsky promised, because of that, the revolution will come more quickly.

Yeah. The speechy revolution is coming, Ezra! Someday just down the road and around the bend. An old socialist said so.

And, interestingly enough, on Feb. 12th Ezra wrote:

I had a preliminary discussion with my lawyer today. My aim is to file an abuse of process claim in the Court of Queen's Bench [against Syed Soharwardy] within the month. Whether or not I sue the commission itself, and its inquisitor Shirlene McGovern, is something I haven't discussed yet with my lawyers.

Its been over a month, been over two in fact. Where's all the paperwork, Ez? Maybe your lawyers are otherwise occupied?

For Those Of Us Who Never Quite Got This Metric Thing

The online litre/gallon converter - using an updated input of $1.20 per litre - shows $5.46 per Canadian gallon and $4.54 per American gallon.

Working from this, and adjusting mathematically for the larger imperial gallon, gas would have been $3.72 per gallon back when I started driving back in 1980/81 (which was another high point for gas prices, apparently).

Anyone under 40 can probably ignore this post.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Damn Big Dam

A couple of days ago news broke of another Alberta first: a beaver dam 1/2 a mile in length, about 190 klicks NNE of Fort McMurray, just inside Wood Buffalo National Park.

The damn was spotted by researcher Jean Thie when he was playing around with Google Earth in an attempt to determine the effects of Global Warming on Northern Canada's permafrost layer.
Well, it turns out the dam has its own website, courtesy of Mr. Thie, with a whacka whacka good information on beaver habitats in general and this dam in particular. Above is a Google Earth image of the structure, and here is some background:

I emailed Mr. Thie wondering if the growth of the dam (it appears to have existed in a smaller form as far back as 1990) might somehow be attributed to AGW related permafrost melts releasing extra water over the years. He was kind enough to send the following response:

Thanks for your interest and careful reading. No, I do not think that the size of the dam is related to global warming. In the first place the water supply for the wetland comes from the creeks and streams coming down from the Birch Mountains, not from melting permafrost.

Second,this area has only sporadic and isolated patches of permafrost, usually in the form of palsas and peatplateuas in wetlands ( an example : ). Pemafrost in wetlands in this area was formed after the last glaciation and after the the layers of peat were formed.

This area was burned about (probably a number of times) 20-40 years before 1975 when the black and white aerial photo was taken. The "Poplar Island" is most likely a fire regeneration. Poplar of course is a favourate food for beaver and as you can see on the Google Earth image beavers have build a small dam here.

This link gives you a bit of background on understanding fire history in the boreal zone


Jean Thie

So there you have it. Follow the links to see more clearly what Mr. Thie is talking about.

Friday, April 18, 2008

No Solar Link Redux, Redux

Research has thrown further doubt on the notion that cosmic rays are a major influence on the Earth's climate.

This is very similar to recent work by Sloan and A.W. Wolfendale, which I noted here; its lead author ( Jon Egill Kristjansson) suggests that if a theory like Svensmark's is true (cosmic radiation drives cloud formation drives average temperature increases/decreases on Earth) then

...sudden changes in cosmic ray intensity should ...[produce]... increases in cloud cover, changes in the size of droplets, and possibly in the total amount of water carried in the clouds.

The author(s) see no such changes, therefore conclude that the theory is not likely to be true.

I should note that the first Sloan/Wolfendale paper inspired this critical response from Israeli astrophysicist N.J. Shaviv, which prompted a rebuttal (exclusive to this blog) from Terry Sloan himself.

Yeah, we're about more than fighting Nazis at BCLSB.

Macleans Still Doesn't Get It

As illustrated by this passage from their tirade against Barbara Hall's statement last week on behalf of the OHRC re the Steyn case:

"[Macleans editorial staff] pointed out that nowhere does it ["The Future Belongs to Islam"] suggest there is a plot for global domination involving the entire Muslim community (in fact, [author Mark Steyn] distinguishes between various factions in the Muslim world, moderate and radical)."

So the folks at Macleans divide the Muslim world into two whole factions? Do they really believe such classification corresponds to anything real, the way terms like Sunni or Shia or Sufi might?

What the editors are describing here is their original interview with the law students who brought a number of human rights complaints against them. Imagine you are one of these students. The editors tell you: "But the article isn't Islamophbic. It mentions both kinds of Muslim, good and bad."

Feeling a bit patronized yet?

No, Barbara Hall gave them the public spanking they deserved.

Pride Of The Speechies

You often hear about this U.K. blogger from various blogging Tories. Currently, "Lionheart" has run into trouble with the Bedfordshire Police for "allegedly stirring up racial hatred", based on material he's written for his blog (like: Moslems - The real neo-Nazi's).

Too red neck for South Carolina? Wonder if he was wearing the dork outfit when he filled out his paperwork.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Hell Is That?

Dion: If Elected, I Promise To Abstain.

Why not? The strategy seems to be working.

Yes, someone might argue, but it isn't because of this strategy that the Lib numbers have changed. Which is true, but if they hadn't employed some of that "strategic patience" stuff, the game might have been up before the numbers had a chance to change.

And of course some others might argue that these new poll numbers suggest that now is the time to pull the plug. I am still of the opinion, though, that the Tories have not yet bottomed. There's a video of Lukwiski out there somewhere, in a yellow leisure suit, offering Cadman a bribe and calling him a "fag" when he refuses to take it. Its just up to us to find it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tom Harris Settles Into His New Job

Once of the Canadian denialist astroturf group the Natural Resources Stewardship Project, now Executive Director of the ICSC, an international denialist astroturf group, Tom Harris kicks off his new career by asking the members of the far-right political forum Free Dominion to FREEP an ICSC Poll.

I think the results may surprise many media and politicians. I find the public are far less accepting of the hypothesis that human CO2 emissions are causing a ‘crisis’ than what we are so often assured.

Frankly, I think the results will surprise no-one, but if anybody wants to do some counter-FREEPING, the link is here.

And here is an old article back from when Tom was an expert on space exploration. Holy crap, the guy's like Leonardo.

Yeah, But We've Conquered The Nerdosphere!

Meaghan surveys Canadian media coverage of Warman's lawsuits against the National Post and various bloggers and finds it "minuscule". Maybe less than minuscule, as I don't think "Donklephant" counts as Canadian, or media.

And the Steynosaurs are attacking!

Our site [Law is Cool] was apparently hacked again last night. In addition to uploading spam content, they also deleted all plug-ins and several pages, including the ones on the Macleans case and Blawger of the Year Daniel Simard. We seem to encounter these problems every time we post something critical of Steyn, which we find unfortunate.

Click on the above link and see Law is Cool not being there.

You know Mark, you might mention to your followers that hacking websites if sorta against the law. They do hang upon your every word. You might even be able to prevent some actual crimes.

Well that's probably it for today. Real life calls.

Hillier Bails, Urges Nation to Fight On

Give him his gold watch and tell him bye bye.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tory HQ Raided!

RCMP are conducting a raid on Conservative party headquarters in Ottawa on Tuesday in connection with an investigation into spending on election advertising.

Oh that I should be alive to witness such a glorious day! Rumor has it there's video of Harper doing the perp walk in an orange jump-suit.


Update: More detail from CTV.

On Really Fighting For Free Speech

Mark has a pay-pal button and an address up at Section 15 if anyone wants to help out with his case against Wayne Crookes. The details are here or, from a slightly different perspective, here, but the notion that Crookes has "put the whole Internet on trial" is not too far wrong.

I'll be mailing a cheque myself today, and if I can dig some Canadian Tire money out of my car's glove-box, a 2nd donation will follow. I would ask that Mark et al not reveal the exact amount of my donation when it arrives, as intimations of great wealth (an estate in both town and country, etc.) are a part of the BCL mystique and I don't want to blow the game.

Lesbian Senator: "I Will Have Lukwiski's Balls!"

"Apologies are never enough," [Senator Nancy Ruth, the only openly gay member of the Conservative caucus] said. "There always needs to be action."

Unfortunately, she intends to be tactful about it. But I say, Show him some cold steel, sister! Its the only way guys like that learn.
In any case
She suggested Lukiwski spend some time in his constituency with a group of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gender people to develop a better understanding of the challenges they face.
If he joined the Regina Gay Pride parade he could wear his old "leisure suit Larry" outfit. He'd fit right in.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Call Me A Pig

But gawd I hope this makes the Net.

By-Election Soon?

On my daily perambles I spied the campaign office of one John Carmichael going up in 49 Don Valley West. Turns out he will the Tory running for John Godfrey's seat in Don Valley West. Here's his website. Probably a lamb to slaughter, given Godfreys' previous margins of victory, but interesting (maybe) in that he's already getting a fax machine in place, as it were. Does this argue for Harper engineering an early election, or making a quick by-election call when Godfrey retires in July?

Cue Godzilla

Japan is celebrating a groundbreaking science experiment in the Arctic permafrost that may eventually reshape the country's fragile economy and Tokyo's relationships with the outside world.

For an unprecedented six straight days, a state-backed drilling company has managed to extract industrial quantities of natural gas from underground sources of methane hydrate - a form of gas-rich ice once thought to exist only on the moons of Saturn.

In fact, the seabeds around the Japanese coast turn out to conceal massive deposits of the elusive sorbet-like compound in their depths, and a country that has long assumed it had virtually no fossil fuels could now be sitting on energy reserves containing 100 years' fuel. Critically for Japan, which imports 99.7 per cent of the oil, gas and coal needed to run its vast economy, the lumps of energy-filled ice offer the tantalising promise of a little energy independence.

Can't really fault the Japanese for wanting to get at this stuff, but there are lots and lots of environmental problems associated with methane mining, which I have written about here. My favorite is the (admittedly small) possibility to a catastrophic release of methane, a nasty if short-lived greenhouse gas. To ask "Can we mine [methane hydrates] without triggering a disaster that makes the K-T event look mild by comparison"? may overstate the danger, but even Japanese scientists are worried that drilling into the unstable deposits off their country's coast might trigger "massive landslides" on the ocean floor, thus setting hydrates loose in the atmosphere.

A couple of points in conclusion. Firstly, the Palaeocene/Eocene thermal maximum was a time of mass extinction thought to have been caused in part by a vast release of methane hydrate, so doomsday warnings like the one above are not entirely ungrounded. Secondly, the "underground source" noted in the piece is almost certainly the Mallik research well, located in the Mackenzie Delta in the Northwest Territories. This experiment is a Japanese/Canadian co-venture. Your tax dollars at work.

Another Brick In The Wall

As the technical case for Richard Warman's authoring the infamous "Cools Post" collapses, the hard core speechies grow desperate.

Their last serious argument refers to the "configuration" of the computer used in making the Cools post vs. the later Lucy posts (which Warman admits to having written). That is, what kind of browser these computers used, what kind of programs they were running--all information which has been recorded.

The configuration of these two machines, our speechies claim, is identical. And not only identical, but unusual for the time in question (late 2003): only 10% of Canadian computers had such a configuration, apparently. Therefore, Warman is most probably guilty. Never mind that, even if true, this narrows the pool of possible "Cool's Post" authors down to about 100,000 (Warman included) from about 1,000,000 (Warman included), thus making the odds he wrote the material in question only slightly less astronomical. But, as it turns out, the configuration on the two machines is not identical. Bucket's elaborates the differences here, but the most telling one as far as I am concerned is that the machine making the Cools post in September is using a version of Realplayer, a bit of software missing from Warman's machine when he writes as Lucy in October.

Not that it is impossible for someone to have removed their version of Real Player between the two dates in question, but as most computer users know, one tends to accumulate software, not get rid of it, over time. So this is not a particularly credible counter.

So again, some mea culpas are in order from the right-side of the political blogosphere. And, once again, I tag Jay Currie for being especially jerk-like, and for his awesome ability to ignore evidence as it piles up in front of his eyes. Jay, end this now. Admit. You were suckered by Nazis, but you've gotten better.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

You Want To Help A Canadian Blogger Fighting For Free Speech?

Send your pennies to this guy.

A couple of years ago Mark got caught up in the Wayne Crookes "Libelpalooza" and, although the case died in a B.C. courtroom, Crookes has appealed and there are many bills still to pay. You can get the more details on Mark's particular situation re his blog, but one of the worrying things about Crookes' efforts is that he has sued people (Michael Geist, specifically) for linking to a site that linked to another site that contained allegedly defamatory material.

Now that's scary.

Steyn And Company Have Got It Easy

Given all the whining over the OHRC's remarks re Steyn and Macleans Magazine and journalistic freedoms and yadayadayada this week, a little historical perspective is in order:

...the official scribes of Maya kings, who were considered important to the kings' power, were especially targeted by enemies in warfare. If captured, they were executed—after their fingers were broken and their fingernails ripped out, according to a researcher who has taken a much closer look at Maya murals.

Not recommending anything similar, obviously.

In any case, the status of the scribe has changed over the centuries with the spread of reading and writing skills. If you want an insight into why almost every columnist in the nation has been trashing HRC's to absolutely no political effect, check out this list of reviled professions.

Steyn and Ezra and co. should look in the mirror and ask themselves why people hold used cars salesmen in higher regard. (hint: used car salesmen have a higher regard for the truth)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Lance Retracts

In January, Lance of Catprint in the Mash published an analysis of the Cools post and IP address In it, he concluded that Richard Warman probably had written the post in question. This analysis served as the intellectual underpinning of much of the verbal junk that has been hurled in Mr. Warman's path over the last several months. For example, see the link from update 2 here. However, yesterday, after having taken a look at Bucket's work, Lance has retracted his analysis and accepted the results given there:

Buckets proves that the IP address in question was a regional Rogers web caching proxy.

S/He has gone to yeoman's effort and time eating research to back up her/his conclusions and there is no room for dispute. Bucket's finding vastly increases the pool of people who could have made the post in question. If you've the inclination, read the whole series.

Good on Lance for admitting error. In fact, I think its something more of the folks on his side of this issue should be doing, now that the case against Warman has essentially collapsed.

I should begin with Ezra himself, although probably the legal stance he has taken has driven him into a corner that he cannot so easily get out of.

More realistically, I would appeal to the reasonable Conservatives that have engaged themselves in this issue. For example, it would be useful if Deborah Gyapong, whose political views I disagree with but who seems a decent sort, should begin to distance herself from some of false claims she and her fellow travellers have wielded in their ideological battle against Warman and Canadian HRCs. It would also be useful if Jay Currie, who has written extensively (if incorrectly) on some of the technical aspects of the case, should admit the obvious and make a few mea culpas.

Under the mud there may be an argument for modifying certain aspects of Canadian human rights law. But these folks will have to come clean before we can realistically see what, if anything, that argument amounts to.

On Solar Links: Sloan Responds To Shaviv

Earlier in April, Terry Sloan and A.W. Wolfendale published a paper in which they offered an apparent refutation of Henrik Svensmark's theories linking solar activity to Global Warming. The paper is here, my post on it here. Yesterday, astrophysicist N.J. Shaviv published an on-line critique in which he suggests that Sloan and Wolfensdale have made three mistakes in their paper:

Two arguments are based on the expectation for effects which are much larger than should actually be present. In the third argument, they expect to see no phase lag, where one should actually be present. When carefully considering the link, Sloan and Wolfendale did not raise any argument which bares any implications to the validity or invalidity of the link.

I contacted Terry Sloan yesterday afternoon via email and asked him if he would like to respond to Mr. Shaviv's arguments, and he asked me to post the following:

Dear Shaviv,

I would like to correct the factual errors in your blog.

1. Concerning cosmic rays. Muons, neutrons and the soft component of cosmic rays are all produced from the interactions of the primaries in the upper atmosphere. So the thickness of atmosphere above them is irrelevant. This is a factual error in your paper.

You say we should have compared with ionization chamber data - no such long term data exist either for shielded ion chambers (only sensitive to muons) or unshielded (sensitive to ionization from both muons and electrons). If such data had existed we would have used them.

The Ususkin et al computations of the solar modulation of the total ionization in cycle 22 are compatible with our neutron monitor curve. So our analysis is safe.

2. Your fig 2 from the other Usoskin et al paper is for a highly selected data sample with a large correlation coefficient - not the global average with which we compare. Hence your fig 2 has little to do with our analysis using global averages. We stuck to global averages because in the original Marsh and Svensmark work they computed from the globally averaged dip in cycle 22 that the radiative forcing was 1.4 W m^-2 if all the dip was caused by CR. We set out either to confirm whether the dip was due to CR or not and if not to set a limit on the fraction of it which could come from this source. As we could find no corroborative evidence that it was due to ionization we set a limit. Our limit says that the radiative forcing cannot be more than 23% of 1.4 W m^-2.

3. Forbush decreases - the changes in the CR rate were averaged over the same time intervals as the changes in the LCC - so we have done this correctly and not incorrectly as you imply. The Forbush decreases usually take place over times between days to a month.

Regards, Terry Sloan.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Beats A Lawn Jockey Any Day

Hit Me, I'm Liberal

And I can absorb more blows than Rocky. Here's the Natty Post's lament for the LPoC. Here's the people of Canada ignoring them.

Jeez! If the party abstains for another couple of months, they'll be in Majority territory. Hopefully, polls like this will help the Que. wing get past Iggy and get ready to fight.

More on the NANOS Poll from James Curran.

One in A Million (Almost)

Buckets, of Buckets of Grewal, has completed his analysis of the IP address, now famous due to the ongoing Speechy Conflict. This post is merely my attempt to popularize his results, with a picture of a scantily clad woman at the end as a kind of gift for anyone who is willing to read a couple of hundred words about such things as IP addresses. So let's get to it, shall we? Bucket's writes:

It has been alleged, both in CHRC Tribunal hearings and later through innumerable internet and print publications, that this someone must have been Canadian Rights activist Richard Warman, based on the fact that a posting from several weeks later, that he has admitted to have written, also bore this IP address.

What Buckets has discovered (with a little help from people like RB and Nbob and, I would like to think, yours truly) is that this IP is assigned to a Rogers Communications regional proxy.

Back in the early days of cable Internet, one of the big concerns was with the amount of Net traffic that high-speed users would generate. This was roughly around the time of Napster's debut, and the rise of other band-width hogging P2P programs (I began subscribing to Rogers high-speed in 2000 so as to better download material from Napster). One solution to this problem was the idea of a "proxy server". Lets say you wanted to access CNN. Pre-proxy, you would type in an IP, and the message would be sent to your ISP and then, by a series of hops and skips from machine to machine, down to the machine (lets say it was in Atlanta) on which CNN was hosted, and then back in another series of jumps. But Rogers (and others) discovered that it was far more efficient traffic-wise to route all of these requests to a regional proxy, a machine that would then send a request on behalf of your home computer down to Atlanta or wherever, and once the request had been fulfilled, send the results back to your home computer.
This method had a further advantage in that content from popular websites could be stored on the regional proxy. Instead of news fans (with the Rogers service) bombarding CNN computers down in Atlanta, their requests would be terminate in the proxy. Every once in awhile, the proxy itself would query CNN and bring back new content, which it stored in a cache. Thus any number of hops and skips (traffic) were eliminated, and everything sped along nicely. The important point: if someone had examined the CNN logs down in Atlanta, they would see the IP address of the regional proxy, not the IP of the PC which sent the original request to the proxy.

To say it again: is the IP of one of these intermediate machines, not of someone's home PC.

So, how many people would have been served by one of these regional proxies? In other words, what are the odds that Warman wrote the Anne Cools post? After all, he did send requests to Freedomsite though this proxy on several occasions. Bucket's writes:

So, how many potential Rogers customers might have made that racist Cools post?

Probably all of them.

As we have seen (here), the proxies are not geographically limited, but serve all areas of the province.

Now, according to this, Rogers had 800,000 Internet subscribers in March 2004. The same link states that 90% of cable subscribers are in Ontario, which implies a pool of about 700,000.

The Cools poster could be almost any one of them.

Now, a couple of things in conclusion. Some of my older posts on this topic may have been a little obscure. Originally, it seemed that, since Rogers assigns personal IP addresses dynamically--they write somewhere that these can "change at any time"--the object of the investigation was to discover how often they change and among how many people they can get shuffled. As Buckets came to favor the regional proxy theory, my understanding did not always accurately track what he was on about. If you re-read some of my older posts on the topic, keep this in mind.

Also, though currently attached to an IT department, I am at best an "honorary nerd" and, in regards to on-line investigating, a mere hobbyist. Furthermore, I know very little about Buckets real-life background, but I would certainly pit his knowledge against that of a couple of Nazis, which is what the competition amounts to in this case.

And now here is your girl. She too is a nerd, or at least says she is. Furthermore, I would have also thrown in a few fart jokes to liven up the above, but its early and I couldn't think of any. Feel free to add some of these in the comments.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sask. Blogs Aggregator: Striking A Martyr's Pose

Sask. Boy writes:

The first casualty of the Conservative bloggers lawsuit has claimed an unlikely victim. The SaskBlogs Aggregator, run by Lance Levsen, has been taken offline due apparently to the likely threat of a lawsuit. The Aggregator contains Small Dead Animals as a member, and thus has stored posts claimed as libelous, even though they only LINK to an alleged libelous statement.

"Likely threat of a lawsuit"? As opposed to an actual threat? I suspect that the names in yesterday's statement of claim are all the names there will be, but if Lance is really worried, it isn't as though R. Warman's email is that hard to find.

However, it is more fun, I suppose, to nail oneself to the cross and harvest sympathy from passer's by.

Incidentally, the passage in the statement of claim that Lance (and others) seem to be worried about concerns Kate MacMillan letting SDA guest blogger K. Shaidle link to the original FreeD post re. Senator Cools (something I've done at least once, incidentally). I think the first part of paragraph 28, which most people seem to be ignoring, is the important one:

Ms. McMillan permitted the defendant Shaidle to access SDA and post the Cools posting along with the allegation that Mr. Warman was responsible for it...

This does not seem at all analogous to the Wayne Crookes case at all, as far as I can tell. Here the offending material appeared on SDA, plus there was a link back to the source, plus there was a claim on SDA that Warman had written said material.

With Crookes, a blog-roll linked to a site that linked to a site.

As for Lance, well, Bloggers die more often opera stars and for the same reason...bad acting! I imagine he'll be back in a week or two.

Ontario Human Rights Commission to Steyn And Macleans: You SUck, But You're Legal

From the OHRC statement, released yesterday, in regards to the complaints raised against Maclean's Magazine:

While freedom of expression must be recognized as a cornerstone of a functioning democracy, the Commission has serious concerns about the content of a number of articles concerning Muslims that have been published by Maclean’s magazine and other media outlets. This type of media coverage has been identified as contributing to Islamophobia and promoting societal intolerance towards Muslim, Arab and South Asian Canadians. The Commission recognizes and understands the serious harm that such writings cause, both to the targeted communities and society as a whole. And, while we all recognize and promote the inherent value of freedom of expression, it should also be possible to challenge any institution that contributes to the dissemination of destructive, xenophobic opinions.


The Commission is concerned that since the September 2001 attacks, Islamophobic attitudes are becoming more prevalent in society and Muslims are increasingly the target of intolerance, including an unwillingness to consider accommodating some of their religious beliefs and practices.

This is the result I predicted back in January: that it would be eventually decided that it is legally okay, but morally reprehensible, for Ken Whyte and company to take Canada's national news magazine and drive it into the same sewer they took the National Post.

I will just re-quote myself from that time-frame:

Is Steyn a racist? Indubitably. Is what he wrote protected by Canadian Freedom of Expression laws? Contrary to some of the Doom-Sayers on the Right, who want to make Macleans, the representative of the "powerful corporate media" in question here, look like underdogs in the case, it almost certainly is.

So, if Mr. Steyn and Macleans get dragged before a Human Rights tribunal and win, what is the point of the exercise? A case can be made that Macleans actually stands to come out ahead, as controversy = increased sales. Mind you, this is Canada not the U.S.. The tabloidization of media culture does not seem to have proceeded quite as far North of the border, and overt displays of bigotry don't seem to play as well up here. Given that most of Macleans' editorial staff are the same gang that crashed and burned the National Post (which you can't even use to line a bird-cage these days, because the parrot will complain), an even stronger case can be made that they have mis-judged the Canadian Zeitgeist a second time, and that the final trade-off will be the two semi-literate Neo-Nazis who are attracted to the magazine by its stand on Mr. Steyn, versus the half-dozen normal Canadians who still read Old Mac from nostalgia, but cancel their subscriptions for the same reason.

For me, what this is all about is the necessary public shaming of a Canadian news institution that has gone from being harmless if a little dull to a disgrace to the nation.

Thanks to the OHRC for providing that public shaming.

Elsewhere, RT gets all foamy and suggests that these latest developments in the speechy wars, esp. Warman's various lawsuits, are a good reason not only to scrap hate-speech laws, but libel laws as well. Oh my!!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Warman Drops The Bomb, Sues National Post (And Others)

Richard Warman has named The National Post Company, Jonathan Kay, Ezra Levant, Kathy Shaidle,,, Catherine McMillan, Mark Fournier, and Constance Wilkins-Fournier in a statement of claim filed today.

Warman is looking for $50,000 from the defendants, "jointly and severally", apologies, and retractions, and etc. Central to this case is the "Anne Cools" Post of which I have written so often.

Remember, this is not about possibly frivolous uses of the HRC process anymore. We're talking libel now.

PS. My favorite bit from the documentation:

"Mr. Lemire and his direct associates had always been cautious enough never to spread the allegation [re the Cools post] outside of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal hearing. Indeed, one of Lemire's closest associates indicated in an Internet posting that they had legal advice not to do so (presumably knowing they would be sued for libel)."

Never, never, never trust them Nazis.

McDonald's Does It Better

This year's Rube Goldberg contest asked contestants to assemble a hamburger consisting of no less than one precooked meat patty, two vegetables and two condiments, sandwiched between two bun halves, in no LESS than 20 steps. Once again, Purdue won.

Ah, engineering students! They think their vast brains and mechanical know-how will, for some reason, get them laid. Poor fools! For that you need to major in ARTS!

I speak from the wisdom of age. I spent my university days in philosophy class. There is no more effective babe repellent than that.

Your Daily Nazi: Wifi Edition

Mark Lemire is trying to figure out who visited the Neo-Nazi portal Stormfront on December 8, 2006 from IP address As I have noted on several occasions, his theory is that CHRC operatives hacked the private wireless connection of an Ottawa resident living about 1,200 feet away though a block of downtown highrises and across a park, even though this is pretty much impossible without special gear.

Now Mark has provided a wireless scan from outside of the Ottawa's CHRC headquarters in Ottawa to bolster his case. It
...shows numerous unsecured wireless access points in range.

And so Mark asks:

But of course this is the wrong question. The right question is: why would anyone with so many unsecured hotspots in the immediate vicinity even attempt the Herculean task of hacking a private citizen's account 1/4 mile away? (And why, in any case, would they need to stay connected for a full 24 hours, as Stormfront records indicate?)
Honestly, I don't know what happened with, but since investigations of the 90sAREover posts indicate that Mark and his combüdor X-berts have managed to trace this visitor to a Rogers regional proxy handing traffic from (and masking the real IPs of) perhaps 10,000s of PCs, I'm not going to bother. Just file it under Nazi dumbness.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Fermi's Paradox And Global Warming

One of the possible solutions to Fermi's Paradox (if the Universe is filled with intelligent species, where are they all?) has always been to suggest that advanced civilizations tend to bring about their own destruction.

Adam Korbitz suggests two possible mechanisms by which this might happen here on Earth:

First, researchers at the University of Colorado have published a study showing that even a limited nuclear exchange between longtime rivals India and Pakistan would have devastating environmental effects --- although it would by no means spell the end of the human race.

Second, the World Health Organization issued a warning today about the catastrophic human death toll that unchecked climate change may cause this century, particularly in the poorest countries.

Of course my favorite solution to F's Paradox is that they are already among us - but they call themselves Hungarians.

(A slow news day, obviously)

Reverse Engineering Obama

From one of my favorite Griceans, Alessandro Capone, a look at the rhetoric of Barack Obama:

In this paper I shall analyse Barack Obama’s South Carolina victory speech from a particular pragmatic perspective. In particular I shall explore the idea that this speech is constituted by many voices (in other words, it displays polyphony, to use an idea by Backhtin (1981, 1986)) and that the audience is part of this speech event, adding/contributing to its text in a collaborative way (in particular, in constructing meaning). As many are aware (including journalists who report day by day on Barack Obama’s achievements ), Obama uses the technique of personification (The Economist, Dec 13th 2007). When he voices an idea, he does not just expose it as if it came from himself, but gets another person (fictitious or, plausibly, real) to voice it. Since in an electoral speech he cannot reasonably get people to get on stage to voice his ideas, he personifies ideas by narrating what people told him. His stories are the way he finds to personify ideas.


In this paper I consider the case of an electoral speech event in which, despite the fact that rhetoric is present, manipulation is kept at a minimum, as the speaker does not attempt to persuade the audience to come to his side, to accept his views, given that he presents his views as coming from the people. In Obama’s speech, I analyse the case in which a politician makes use of the people’s voices in order to show that he correctly represents the needs and sentiments of his nation, thus being entitled to represent them as a political leader and to do what is good for them. The speech emerges not as something for which Obama is responsible, but as something for which the people (in particular those attending the electoral speech) are responsible. Obama’s success lies in the fact that he manages to persuade the audience that the speech does not come from him, but from their own voices. Here electoral victory must be seen as success in representing the speaker as a person who impersonates the audience’s needs and sentiments. Obama manages to project himself as a person who animates a speech for which, not him, but the people are responsible. Electoral success is granted him because the people can consider themselves the principal (in the sense of Goffman), the person, institution or collection of communities which is ultimately responsible for what is said in the speech.

Presumably the speech sounded better than it reads.

In any case, this is probably the kind of thing I would be doing for a living if I hadn't flunked out of my 2nd language requirement.