Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lorrie Goldstein: Things Were Better Long Ago

In which Lorrie Goldstein opines the Good Old Days, and suggests that Stats Can statisticians are the same variety of Commie as Climate Scientists.

Jesus. People were whining about the good old days back in the good old days when I was young.

Conservative Talks Insurrection!

Orson Scott "Mormons In Space" Card says that, if them Liberal activists go too far, the bullets may start to fly:

If America becomes a place where our children are taken from us by law and forced to attend schools where they are taught that cohabitation is as good as marriage, that motherhood doesn't require a husband or father, and that homosexuality is as valid a choice as heterosexuality for their future lives, then why in the world should married people continue to accept the authority of such a government?

What these dictator-judges do not seem to understand is that their authority extends only as far as people choose to obey them.

How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.

Gawd, its like I'm flashing back to the 1990s, when Conservatives were genuinely scary.

h/t Cathie.

Green Shift Shifts Again, Again

An updated excuse as to why GreenShift has pulled their client list from the company website. Remember , the original reason was that they were "undergoing an analysis period". Now it has become:

Sorry, we are not currently posting the businesses who are part of the Green ShiftTM because some were receiving unexpected calls and camera crews. We hope to be able to post the list soon.

Camera crews? Very strange, and I am tempted to call bullshit, as a quick Google search shows that (with a couple of exceptions, one a being New Brunswick based weekly) there has been no media coverage of the company since about July 14th. So maybe the camera crews left their film at home or found nothing interesting to record?

And, interestingly enough, in the one MSM piece (July 28th) done since that time, from the Kingston Whig-Standard, it is revealed that the company considered complaining to Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie for "screaming the [Green Shift] name onstage". The story also provides, arguably, another excuse for pulling their client list from the website:

In the time since she filed her lawsuit Wright has had to act. A list of companies that her website boasted as clients of Green Shift Inc. has been stricken from the Internet. Some, she said, are Liberal supporters and wrote Green Shift Inc. saying they were caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place. So she removed the names.

I think we're up to four now. If Greenshift's lawsuit against the LPoC is to be pursued, at least some of these claims will have to be substantiated.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

From Someone Whose Been There And Done That

Grant Bristow says, in today's Natty Post of all places:

The Canadian Human Rights Commission has been at the forefront of the war against hate in this country for decades. I personally believe it played a key role in eviscerating Canadian hate groups in the 1980s and 1990s. It helped shut down vile telephone hate lines and Internet sites that targeted vulnerable minorities. It forced the Heritage Front to focus on defending itself against complaints rather than on perpetrating acts of hate. After failing to obey cease and desist orders obtained against them by the CHRC, several members of organized hate groups were later incarcerated for contempt of court.


While I was an agent of the Crown placed within the neo-Nazi Heritage Front, I saw the potential for evil with my own eyes. Heritage Front leaders, such as the late Wolfgang Droege, encouraged their minions to harass Jewish leaders and anti-racists. Plans were even made by a group of white supremacists who were an offshoot of the Heritage Front to "take out" Canadian Jewish Congress activists at their office in Toronto. Their key target was Bernie Farber...

Remember that next time Ezra Levant accuses the good man of converting to radical Islam or something equally ridiculous, Ezra who once stood with Quebec seperatists on the grounds that it would

lead to the elimination of bilingualism and multiculturalism, that it would give the Canadian government the "fortitude" to say no to "other special interest groups" such as First Nations and environmentalists; it would end corruption in Parliament which Levant blamed on Quebec politicians; and would clear the way for Preston Manning to become Prime Minister of Canada."

...Ezra who once wrote in support of Alberta separation in 1996 should the federal Liberal Party win the next election.

Yeah, that Ezra.

Gerwing On Gruending On Gerwing

Yesterday's post on the family (nephew and sister) of Alphonse Gerwing returning his Order of Canada, to protest the awarding of the medal to Dr. Henry Morgentaler, drew an eloquent comment from Ralph Gerwing, another member of the Gerwing clan, which I thought I would reproduce here:

To your readers, Dennis [Gruending]:

I would like to be on page with you , in support of the following.”

We did agree that it is essential to support women and families in every way possible – including the provision of adequate child care, housing, increased minimum wages and improved maternity and paternity leaves. ”

As to the paradox of speaking for the dead. I can only speculate that Al’s thoughts would be of engaging the moral and ethical ideas of members of the Order of Canada in his work in Brazil.

Al Gerwing would not diminish the contributions of Dr. Morgentaler: but only debate their effectiveness as social construction tools in Canadian’s helpful work in Haiti and Brazil.

Motives, Convictions and expressed thoughts, are part of inclusiveness in a democratic society. In this we all can be thankful. rtg.

Ralph T. Gerwing Vancouver Metro

To read about the work that earned Alphonse Gerwing his medal in the first place, visit the website of the Alphonse Gerwing Foundation.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Gruending On Gerwing And Morgentaler

Dennis Gruending discusses a decision by the family of Alphonse Gerwing (specifically, his nephew and sister) to return the man's Order of Canada medal over Henry Morgentaler's being made a recipient of the same medal:

I don’t know how it was decided that Al’s Order of Canada medal should be returned. Al never married so there was no immediate family to make such a decision, but at least one relative has expressed his displeasure with what has happened. Jim Gerwing, a former Benedictine monk at the monastery near Humboldt, wrote a letter to The Globe and Mail on July 23. “The Order of Canada was not given to the Gerwing family,” he said, “and they have absolutely no right to return it simply because they disagree with the fact that Henry Morgentaler is also a recipient. Canada should not accept the return of such an honour unless it is explicitly written into the deceased person’s will.”

It does sound as though Alphonse Gerwing was pro-life. But there is a long leap of reasoning from that fact to the conclusion that he himself would have wanted his snowflake returned. Preston Manning, after all, has kept his.

And here is Jim Gerwing's letter in its entirety. I agree that the families of Order of Canada recipients should not be able to exploit a medal they are not entitled to in order to score political points.

Obama Can't Win Cuz He's Black, Part II

I used to believe this. Now I am not so sure. Nevertheless the Obama campaign better stash their guy's halo and get digging, if a new U.S.A. Today Poll is to be believed:

Republican presidential candidate John McCain moved from being behind by 6 points among "likely" voters a month ago to a 4-point lead over Democrat Barack Obama among that group in the latest USA TODAY/Gallup Poll. McCain still trails slightly among the broader universe of "registered" voters. By both measures, the race is tight.

There's a thing down in the States called The Bradley/Wilder Effect, where black candidates significantly underperform their polling numbers when it actually comes time for voters, esp. white voters, to cast a ballot. Will it take a few points off Obama's totals on election night, so that even if he is up a couple of points in the nationals he might eventually lose to McCain? Hard to say, as the effect seems to have waved over the years.

However, the GOP is doomed in the House and will lose ground in the Senate. Therefore, it will be very easy for a disgruntled Republican/Indy voters to send a message by casting a split ballot--kicking the bums out in the two houses, but keeping a Republican in The White House. Especially if they don't want to vote for a black but won't admit as much to the pollsters.

And Americans have voted this pattern in the past. The1972, 1984, and 1988 elections saw Republicans send one of their own to the White House while the party lost ground in Congress.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

B.C. Sea Monsters!

Ogopogo is back, and there's supposed to be a picture currently being developed! Interesting bit from the story:

...peak season for Ogopogo sightings is from late August to the third week of September.

Hmm. Since Ogopogo usually takes the form of an anomalous wave or wake, could there be something weather-wise going on during this time that generates such things?

Unfortunately, there's still no sign of Cadborosaurus willsi (pictured above left), which used to be seen swimming off my dad's old stomping grounds. And the Times-Colonist story doesn't mention the fact that the actual physical evidence for Caddy, in comparison to other sea/lake monsters, is fairly solid, consisting of a picture of a body pulled from the stomach of a sperm whale.

(...although this website claims that Caddy sightings have taken place right up until present day.)

KLRvu Joins Blogging Tory Forums

A minor thing, but the email is definitely Allan Bruinooge. Hopefully, he will use the forums to discuss KLRvu's polling methodology and upcoming projects.

Odd that a polling company would so closely identify with a specific political party.

Background here.

Update: A tidbbit from these forums, dated the 24th

Tonight a representative from CLC. (I think it was Mary Ellen Douglas, National Organizer, but I could have remembered incorrectly) called into the John Counsell radio show at 580 CFRA Ottawa. She was unaware of the controversy on the blogesphere and said she was going to check into the charges that this company does not officially exist. She said she knew it was a small polling company and not well know, they kinda used them because they were well.......inexpensive. She sounded veeery upset.

Allan has yet to post on this or any other issue.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Zytaruk Doesn't Trust Tories

Tom Zytaruk's lawyer Barry Gibson on the the latest twist in the Cadman scandal:

We've seen nothing to say the court is actually going to supervise the analysis or protect the tape. There's no guarantee they won't just turn it over to the Conservatives.

Follow the links for background. Although the terms of the hand-over as outlined by Canadian Press seem stringent enough.

Nice that the local media have become a bit more skeptical re the Tory "experts" that originally examined the tape and concluded that it was "doctored":

In June the Conservative Party of Canada revealed it retained two forensic audio specialists to analyze the tape.

And in an affidavit filed in court in June, one of the specialists concluded that a tape provided by Zytaruk to the Conservatives had been altered.

And their skepticism is well-founded. So far Harper and co. are batting one for three, expert wise. One for four, maybe, since the most likely story behind this story is that, as in the case of Bruce Koenig, the Tories hired an audio forensics expert to analyse the tape, he gave them an answer they didn't like, so they dropped him and shopped around until they found someone who would give them an answer they did like.

Friday, July 25, 2008

That's Sooooo Much More Legit

As JJ points out, KLR Vu polling now has a brand spanking new website. I am now much more inclined to accept the results of their anti-Morgentaler push poll. The "Management" writes:

Working closely with our clients, we become part of the team partcipating in the process of how to determine the objectives of the firms, and bringing it all together with reports everyone can understand.

Definitely not Shakespeare, but only one typo. Oh wait!

With the release of our first public poll I felt the necessity to produce the companies website for the public. and media

More typos. Keep trying, folks. Credibility is but one session with a spell-checker away.

Update: Looks like KLRvu plagiarised material pretty much word-for-word from Survey-USA. Buckets has the latest.

Protecting Canadians

...from some rather sinister-looking produce. Behind PM Stephen Harper are two members of the CSIS fruit squad.
From the CPoC website. Looks like our boys are trying to get beyond using their site to slag Dion 24/7. The result is a bit schizophrenic, with macho posturing over an Estro issue (food labelling). I kind of miss Oily the talking oil patch.
PS. What kind of food label goes on an apple? I would have thought that apples contain 100%, well, apple.

Name That Consensus!

What field of scientific endeavour is he talking about? Hint: it is not climate science.

...the community itself is tiny. In most fields...there are few experts.... In every field, there are “bosses” who proclaim the correctness or incorrectness of a new result, and its importance or unimportance. Sometimes they disagree, like gang leaders fighting over turf.


We...believe that the [results] are correct because a political consensus has developed in support of their correctness.


Part of the problem is refereeing. Many (I think most) papers in most refereed journals are not refereed. There is a presumptive referee who looks at the paper, reads the introduction and the statements of the results...and, if everything seems okay, recommends publication.... When I read a journal article, I often find mistakes. Whether I can fix them is irrelevant. The literature is unreliable.

we rely on the judgments of the bosses in the field.... even in [super secret scientific field of endeavour, truth can be political.

Click through the link for your answer or, if you want to do some pointless internet sleuthing, the author's name is Melvyn B. Nathanson.

Keep it in mind next time you run into Michael Crichton, and he says something dorky like

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Think About It

Some Gore bashing gone wrong:

Stanley Lewandowski, the general manager of the Intermountain Rural Electric Association, is one of the few utility officials willing to suggest that the prophet of global warming is strutting about like an emperor without his clothes. 'Al Gore's statement of obtaining 100 percent of our power from renewables in 10 years has as much a chance of happening as the sun shining 24 hours a day,' Lewandowski quipped. 'It's nonsense.'"

Firstly, the sun does shine 24 hours a day.

Secondly, there is actually a difference between the emperor having no clothes and the emperor strutting about without his clothes. The latter is called exhibitionism.

Thirdly, the Intermountain Rural Electric Association is best known for funding AGW Deniers. Consider the source.

h/t Crooked Timber.

Anti-Morgentaler Poll Done By Tory Operative, or : What The Hippie Hath Found

On July 22nd, the headline appears on Lifesitenews: Massive New Poll: 56% of Canadians Oppose Morgentaler Order of Canada. The poll, commissioned by the Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), gets very little play in the MSM, but JJ and the gang at Unrepentant Old Hippy become a little bit curious, as do some of the players at FreeDominion. Their big question: who the hell are KLRVU polling, the company that conducted the CLC poll? They appear to have neither a phone number or a website. However, their news release on the poll gives some interesting details.

For further information: on the results of this survey, call: Media
Contact: Mary Ellen Douglas, CLC National Organizer, (613) 389-4472;
Marie-Christine Houle, CLC Toronto, (cell) (519) 569-0369; KLRVU Research,
Winnipeg, (204) 999-7446

Run that phone number through a few search engines and you get these guys: LaserCut Designs... a Laser Shop for Unique and Special Gifts for Companies and All Occasions.

Now, pause for a moment: a Laser shop that polls for the CLC? A polling company that makes corporate gifts for all occasions? Those are the folks behind the Anti-Morgentaler poll.

But wait, there's more! Another website for LaserCut Designs is, which mentions the names of artists involved: Allan and Katherine. Who are they? Well, this notice of a school fund-raiser identifies Katherine as Katherine Bruinooge. She is married to Allan Bruinooge, who ran for Winnipeg City Council in 2005. A Winnipeg Free Press story from that time period describes him thusly:

Also running in the race were teacher Robert Page who got 453 votes; part-time college instructor Catriona Younger got 397 votes; Tory party organizer Allan Bruinooge received 382 votes, Blue Bombers corporate sale manager Rick Lowey collected 355 votes and autobody shop co-owner Pam Hayward-Remple was given 127 votes.

Finally, if the name Bruinooge strikes you as familiar, its because Allan's brother is Rod Bruinooge, Tory MP from Winnipeg South and a staunch pro-lifer who has written that:

"Appointees to the Order of Canada should be seen by a clear majority of Canadians as being noble and beyond reproach. Since this is not the case with Dr. Morgentaler, he should not be considered for our highest civilian award."

"I find myself now questioning the Order of Canada and its very legitimacy as a voice for all Canadians. I recently nominated a deserving citizen in my community, but I no longer feel I can associate with the Order and have asked to have my name disassociated with the nomination process."

What I find myself questioning is whether Rod Bruinooge knew of the anti-Morgentaler "Laser Poll", and whether any CPoC or taxpayers money went into the funding of it. Hopefully, the MSM will start asking similar questions.

h/t JJ and gang, who did all the work.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Are Ezra's Acolytes Threatening CHRC Employee?

Ezra's facing another lawsuit by CHRC lawyer Giacomo Vigna, and his fans are striking back. Here's one example:

just left Vigna a strongly worded message of disapproval (but NOT a threatening message) on his office voicemail. Others may wish to join me in pushing Vigna's fragile mental state further over the edge by leaving him a message at his office number in Ottawa at...

Here's another:

I can vouch for that 613 ph number.

now how would I know that?

I addressed him first as 'mr bilingual' and from then on as 'mr serene'. then told him to back off, that he was pushing his luck and that I was tired of the vendetta he has engaged in against Ezra.then I gave him MY ph # and invited him to return the call.

"Pushing his luck", eh? I wonder what is supposed to happen if he pushes it too far.

And, by the way, Ez, the precise term is "process server", not "private detective", as in:

Affidavit of Gaby Saliba, Process Server on behalf of the appellants sworn on 01-DEC-2006 confirming service of Notice of Appeal on the respondent...

You are such a diva.

And you should call off your fans. In fact, given your own problems with threats lately, I think you would be more clued in to what is and is not appropriate behavior.

Stephane Dion Will Act On High Gas Prices!

Given stuff like this, a fortuitious bit of policy wonkery:

We also know Canadians are frustrated with spiralling energy costs and the lack of information and justification that often accompanies these increases. Canadians deserve clear and complete information and the provision of such information will make the market place fairer and more transparent. To accomplish this, we will restore the federal Office of Petroleum Price Information to monitor energy price fluctuations and provide clear, current information to Canadians. Work on the creation of this office was started under the previous Liberal government but was shut down by the Conservative government. The Minister of Natural Resources will be accountable to Parliament for the Office.

Your Daily Nazi: Calgary Beckons, Nazi

A white supremacist group in Calgary is recruiting new members with an offer to pay the security deposit on a new rental apartment if they move to the city.

Just remember fellas, all the streets go one way, the hockey team didn't make it out of the first round last year, and the opera house is really quite inferior (Above left is the opera house. Your apartment won't have the same amenities, except for hot and cold running rats).
And this is a scene from downtown:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ezra Levant On Linking To Libel

In his discussion on the statement of claim filed by Kathy Shaidle and Kate McMillan, Ezra writes:

Warman seeks to establish new defamation law, in the realm of the Internet. In his statement of claim, he wants the courts to hold websites legally responsible not only for what they publish, but for what they link to. By that theory, anyone on the Internet is liable for everyone on the Internet. For you are liable for everyone you link to, and they're liable for everyone they link to (and so are you, too), and so on and so on. It sets up a cascading series of infinite liability.

Fortunately, such a punitive approach to defamation and censorship is not Canadian law. Yet.

The paragraph he is talking about is:

16. These defendants admit that the blogs posted contained a link to the web site of These defendants deny that publishing a link amounts to a publication or republication as alleged or at all.

Well, I think both Ezra and our gals' lawyer have got it wrong. I wish I could find a more authoritative source to back up my recollections, but...

In Canada, hyper linking to libel is republishing a libel. Further, if the act of hyper linking can be shown to be hateful, criminal libel penalties can be levied.

Just as an aside, the various Crookes cases are a little bit different. they involve (among other things) trying to sue Michael Geist for maintaining a blogroll that linked to a site that linked to a site containing defamatory material.

Word To Muslims: Go Ahead And Treat Journalists Like Crap

Jonathon Kay tells a room full of moderate Muslims:

Journalists control the commanding heights of Canadian culture. Why would you want to alienate them? What's notable about the reaction to the Steyn case is that even writers who abhor his right-wing politics have rallied to his cause. This includes not only the editorial board of The Globe And Mail, but also the Toronto Star, an avowedly left-wing newspaper that, in every other context, is a sounding board for political correctness and trumped-up racism accusations. And no wonder: Journalists put food on the table by putting words on the page. The surest way to enrage them is to slip a gag over their mouths, which is exactly what the CIC has tried to do -- purportedly in the name of all Canadian Muslims, no less. In the long run, is that going to improve the way that Muslim issues are covered by this same pissed off media?

Unfortunately, he doesn't appear to be joking, so here's a little corrective.

Dear moderate Muslims,

In Canada journalists have a social standing that lies somewhere between grave robbers and insurance sales-men. Your typical Canadian's experience of the journalistic profession, in so far as they come in contact with them at all, is being misquoted. And the CIC's HRC complaint against Maclean's magazine shows their utter inability to move Canadian opinion or the Canadian political establishment. Yes, almost every hack with a pen has opined against the case, and the only result thus far is a meaningless private member's motion (not bill) that will change nothing if it ever came to a vote, and that will never be allowed to come to a vote. The government's point man on the issue, Jason Kenney, is reduced to meeting supporters at underground comedy events, and then sneaking off before he is noticed by normal folk. His speeches bashing HRCs never appear on his website. And the government as a whole wisely keeps silent, knowing that if the issue ever gets beyond the opinion pages and into the wider public realm, they will be seen as reclaiming a Reform Party past that they have been so eager to shed over the course of the past several years.

So, in short, if you can use the Canadian Human Rights apparatus to knee-cap a few uppity columnists, go ahead. Nobody cares.

Watchmen Coming In 2009

Perhaps political bloggers are the wrong variety of nerd to appreciate this kind of thing, but Alan Moore is probably the world's best-known comic book artist (these days they call them "graphic novels") and Watchmen his best known (although not his best) book. It is now being made into a movie by Zack Snyder of 300 fame. That's the first trailer above.

Lots of possible downside here, starting with the director. Furthermore, previous attempts to render Moore's work on film have been less than successful, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen being horrible, and V For Vendetta getting boring at about the same point as the book did.

Anyway, while Watchmen is Moore's most famous piece, his best are the first two volumes of The League, especially the 2nd. The 3rd volume (The Black Dossier) is crap, and you basically have to have it smuggled over the border due to copyright issues (although it has one interesting character: John Carnacki, the Ghost Detective from W. Hope Hodgson's old stories). From Hell is Moore's retelling of the Jack The Ripper story, where you know whodunnit from page one. 8,000 pages long in smudgy B&W drawings. V For Vendetta starts out good, and towards the middle becomes a bit of a trudge where it is generally impossible to tell one character from another.

Here's hoping for the best with Watchmen.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Lonely Denier: Meet Gerald E. Marsh

Euro-Denier Maurizio Morabito has a point when he writes:

Interestingly, the FPS [Forum on Physics and Society] and the APS [The American Physical Society] did not make too much of a fuss in the past, when publishing “heretical” climate-related opinions. For an example, see Gerald E. Marsh’s “Climate Stability and Policy” in April 2008.

He's talking about how the APS has come down hard on the editors of one of their own news letters [FPS] after having been embarrassed by Lord Monckton in its pages. Here is the Marsh Paper Mr. Morabito refers to, and its conclusion is:

...that humanity faces a much greater danger from the glaciation associated with the next Ice Age, and that the carbon dioxide increases that we have seen during the past two hundred years are not sufficient to avert such glaciation and its associated disruptions to the biosphere and civilization as we know it. Such conflicting considerations have obvious implications for the formulation of public policy regarding human attempts to manage climate changes.


Well, I suppose they did not make too much of a fuss previously because previous FPS newsletters did not make much of a splash beyond their usual readers. Marsh, whose website can be found here, seems to have forged few connections within the larger Denialist community. So, for example, earlier non-peer reviewed work of his was referenced by Canadafreepress, a far right Canadian news site, and Atmoz critiques a non-peer reviewed paper of his re the Sun's role in climate change here. But otherwise a wiki search of "Gerald E. Marsh" climate doesn't turn up much. Lord Monckton, on the other hand, knows how to do PR, if not science, and is deeply involved in any number of Skeptics organizations, including the ICSC and SPPI, which have a proven ability to blast their message into the Right Wing Blogosphere and the lower echelons of the MSM.

Now that they have been internationally embarrassed, the APS has responded vigorously.

As for the future of the APS and its newsletter (FPS), unfortunately

If John Mashey is right, all they [the APS] were guilty of was a failure to scrutinise rigorously the activities of volunteers who run a newsletter [the FPS] that happens to have their logo on the masthead. I think the implications are quite worrying: either learned societies will have to start acting like the repressive conspiracies the denialists claim they are, or this sort of thing will keep happening.

...a problem to which I see no easy solution.

How The APS Was Infiltrated By Deniers!

John Mashey is so good on AGW issues that I don't know why he doesn't have a blog of his own. In any case, his hypothesis re how known nutjob Lord Monckton managed to embarrass the American Physical Society is worth giving a higher profile. I've taken material from my own comments section, and copped stuff from Deltoid, and added a few clarifying bits of my own:

In 2004, University of Hartford (UHA) (CT) Physics Professor Larry Gould likely heard talks that included Cristy & Lindzen, and became convinced that AGW was a hoax, etc. in 2004, he was the Chair of the APS' New England Section (NES).

Here is Larry Gould's website.

Lately, he's been co-editor of the APS-NES newsletter, and has been writing very strong anti-AGW editorial material, promoting Monckton, "Great Global Warming Swindle", Steve Milloy, etc.

[He] has been studying climate science for about 4 years, although as far as I can tell, has never published any such research in peer-reviewed journals. It looks like that interest dates from a APS-NES meeting in 2004 with Christy, Lindzen, Rock, and Weart.

[He] wrote an editorial in Fall APS-NES Newsletter, which could serve as a useful catalog of denialist writings, although references to peer-reviewed material are ... scarce...

About that same time, [he] appears to have signed on for the OISM Petition Project. At least, "Laurence Gould PhD" appears in the Connecticut list.

Then, this article pops up in APS' FPS, with Monckton claiming it was requested. One wonders who got the FPS to request it, since FPS is normally commentary written by physicists for the FPS membership. [I'd wondered from the beginning why on Earth they would seek Monckton to write an article. Right now, I doubt that they did: I'd speculate that Gould proposed it to them. Then, SPPI's Robert Ferguson was poised to blast it to the Web, including a logn quote from Gould.]

The SPPI is The Science and Public Policy Institute, a well-known and venerable Denialist website. Robert Ferguson is its director. On July 15th--the day after Monckton's paper appears on the APS site*--the following appears on the SPPI site:

'Larry Gould, Professor of Physics at the University of Hartford and Chair (2004) of the New England Section of the American Physical Society (APS), has been studying climate-change science for four years. He said:

"I was impressed by an hour-long academic lecture which criticized claims about 'global warming' and explained the implications of the physics of radiative transfer for climate change. I was pleased that the audience responded to the informative presentation with a prolonged, standing ovation. That is what happened when, at the invitation of the President of our University, Christopher Monckton lectured here in Hartford this spring. I am delighted that Physics and Society, an APS journal, has published his detailed paper refining and reporting his important and revealing results.'

John writes:

From past watchings of SPPI, Ferguson tends to be "ready-to-go", so one would expect that Gould had seen this material before...

Finally, the Executive Committee of the APS Forum on Physics and Society appears to have issued a further statement repudiating the judgement of Jeffrey Marque, the editor who approved Monckton's paper:

'The executive committee of the Forum on Physics and Society, however, believes that the statement in the July 2008 edition of our newsletter, Physics and Society, that "There is considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution," exaggerates the number of scientists who disagree with the IPCC conclusion on anthropogenic CO2 and global warming. That statement does not represent the views of APS or the Executive Committee of the Forum on Physics and Society. The FPS Executive Committee strongly endorses the position of the APS Council that "Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate.'

...although the link back to the APS page where this quote originated doesn't work.

A neat piece of trickery, all told, which spawned a zillion stories about America's physicists changing their mind on Global Warming.

* A link to this paper was provided on the morning of July 14th on the Climatesceptics mailing list by Alister McFarquhar.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Galactus Objects!

As you may know, I don't do online polls or petitions. However, my buddy Galactus has gone ahead and signed the "Rescind Order of Canada From Morgentaler" petition. In fact, he has signed it on a number of occasions, because while you can only submit one vote per email address, you can pretty much make up any email address you want and submit one vote per each. Unfortunately for Galactus, someone seems to be erasing his signatures as they are made, which makes Galactus angry, because for example these guys were allowed to vote on multiple occasions:
In fact, the petition is, as these things tend to be, a FREEPER's paradise. So why the hassle for my buddy Big G? Galactus is now seriously thinking he might conjure a million Orders Of Canada from the plasmic energy between dimensions and rain them down on Ottawa as a sign of his displeasure. And does anyone really want that?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

His Legacy Will Be Carved In Raw Sewage

The proposed George W. Bush Sewage Plant makes the ballot in San Francisco. The City's three Republicans are upset.

APS: Monckton's Paper Stamped JUNK SCIENCE

The APS has now added a disclaimer to the Lord Monckton Paper mentioned here. It reads:

The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review. Its conclusions are in disagreement with the overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community. The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article's conclusions.

And Jeffrey Marque, the APS forum editer who allowed its publication is this guy.

No They're Not Dinosaurs

Even if the "official news sources" are calling them that. Quetzalcoatlus was a Pterosaur, and the biggest one at that. Among the more interesting facts about these animals was that the whole beast only weighed a couple of hundred pounds. The bones were hollow, and thin as paper. There is still some debate as to the lifestyle they pursued; Darren Naish has recently proposed that they (or at least similar species) were
...stork- or ground hornbill-like generalists, foraging in diverse environments for small animals and carrion.
See here for details.

Friday, July 18, 2008

APS Recants: Global Warming Back On

Yesterday, news went out in the deniosphere: The American Physical Society was questioning the AGW consensus! All because one of their editors, Jeffrey Marque, made the following post to an AP forum:

With this issue of Physics & Society, we kick off a debate concerning one of the main conclusions of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN body which, together with Al Gore, recently won the Nobel Prize for its work concerning climate change research. There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution. Since the correctness or fallacy of that conclusion has immense implications for public policy and for the future of the biosphere, we thought it appropriate to present a debate within the pages of P&S concerning that conclusion. This editor (JJM) invited several people to contribute articles that were either pro or con. Christopher Monckton responded with this issue's article that argues against the correctness of the IPCC conclusion...

Well, obviously Mr. Marque triggered a crapstorm in the blogosphere, because this morning the APS felt it necessary to issue a clarification:

The American Physical Society reaffirms the following position on climate change, adopted by its governing body, the APS Council, on November 18, 2007:

"Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate."

An article at odds with this statement recently appeared in an online newsletter of the APS Forum on Physics and Society, one of 39 units of APS. The header of this newsletter carries the statement that "Opinions expressed are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the APS or of the Forum." This newsletter is not a journal of the APS and it is not peer reviewed.

Now, a couple of things. As noted, the original text was a post to a forum, hardly an official declaration by the APC. Secondly, the statement itself is so heavily qualified (very probably likely to be primarily responsible) as to be harmless, if perhaps also meaningless. So what I think got Mr. Marquette into trouble was his reference to Christopher Monckton as being a member of the scientific community who disagrees with the AGW consensus. Well, Lord Monckton is definitely not a scientist. He's a one time advisor to Margaret Thatcher, a well known low-caliber denialist (meaning he's particularly hard to take seriously), and an all-purpose wing-nut (Google "Monckton & AIDS", or read through last link). Furthermore, he looks like this.

Mr. Marquette seems to have got rooked by a nutter, in other words.

Here's Monckton's paper, by the way. The correct term for something like this is "baffling them with bullshit".

The Minister Responds

I've chronicled my vendetta against Macleans Magazine's PAP subsidy here, among other places. Basically, the magazine slurps up $3,000,000 per year in taxpayer's money to cover its mailouts, which renders Andrew Coyne's latest about subsidies to Bombadier faintly hilarious ("Do as I say, not as I do!!" Right Andrew?). Anyway, the kicker is that any publication can lose its subsidy if it

... contain[s] material considered to be hate propaganda, sexual exploitation, excessive or gratuitous violence, denigration of an identifiable group or an any other way offensive.

And, since I figure that any number of the Steyn pieces that Macleans has run qualify as offensive, I've been pestering the Heritage Minister's office about how one might go about lodging a complaint against the magazine. Finally, finally, finally, they have responded:

Dear [BigCityLib]:

I am writing in response to your correspondence addressed to the Honourable Josée Verner, Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages and Minister for La Francophonie, regarding the Publications Assistance Program (PAP) as it relates to Maclean's magazine.

Ms. Verner appreciates being advised of your concerns with respect to material published in Maclean's that you consider denigrating to an identifiable group or otherwise offensive. I understand that you have already discussed this matter with Department of Canadian Heritage officials. The best way to proceed would be to submit a hard copy of your concerns to the PAP for consideration.

I trust that this information is useful. Please accept my best wishes.

Yours sincerely,

Jean-Sébastien Langelier
Policy Advisor

Dear Mr. Langelier, a package is already in preparation. I think it will include this statement from the OHRC's Barbara Hall on Mark Steyn's article "The Future Belongs To Islam":

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.

Unfortunately, the Maclean’s article, and others like it, are examples of this. By portraying Muslims as all sharing the same negative characteristics, including being a threat to ‘the West’, this explicit expression of Islamophobia further perpetuates and promotes prejudice towards Muslims and others.


The Commission strongly condemns the targeting of Muslims, Arabs, South Asians and indeed any racialized community by the media as being inconsistent with the values enshrined in the Code.

Ooo! Ooo! Ooo! That's not all. I think I will include the CHRC statement on this same topic:

The Steyn article discusses changing global demographics and other factors that the author describes as contributing to an eventual ascendancy of Muslims in the 'developed world', a prospect that the author fears for various reasons described in the article. The writing is polemical, colourful and emphatic, and was obviously calculated to excite discussion and even offend certain readers, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.

Lots more offensive stuff too! I haven't even touched on the articles Barbara Amiel has written over the past several years.

So watch out, Kenneth Whyte, I'm comin' for your government stamps!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Rhetoric Is Different, The Solutions Are Not

Nordhaus and Shellenberger are the darlings of the GW denier set because of their harsh criticism of the "doom and gloom" rhetoric that sometimes emanates from the environmental movement. They'd prefer something more "can-do" and "uplifting". Nevertheless, it is important to note that when it comes to policy prescriptions, they are well within the economic consensus on Global Warming.

For example, it is important to note that in this piece from today's Ottawa Citizen, they are not arguing contra a carbon tax. Rather, they are arguing that a carbon tax like that which the Campbell government has levied in B.C. is not anywhere steep enough to change economic behavior, and therefore the rationale given for it should not be changing economic behavior. Rather, its rationale should be to fund

...technological advances to make clean energy as cheap as possible as quickly as possible. Toward this end, all of the revenues raised from new carbon taxes or auctioning pollution allowances should be dedicated to the research, development and deployment of new technologies that the private energy sector cannot and will not do.

They make reference to Denmark and Norway, a pair of countries that imposed a carbon tax back in the 1990s:

...while Norway uses its revenues for government spending, Denmark earmarks its carbon tax revenues for clean energy, such as wind power, which has become a vibrant national industry. As a consequence, Norway's emissions climbed 43 per cent while Denmark's declined 15 per cent.

Now, as it stands currently, apart from the accelerated capital cost allowance for green technologies, the Federal Liberal Green Shift seems tilted too much towards the Norwegian, and too little towards the Danish model, for my tastes. But Dion is apparently big on listening, so perhaps that will change.

Name That Natural Disaster!

Here's a hint: it was the biggest one ever, reaching 1,720 feet in height, and yet it hardly killed anyone!

Where The Nuts On The Right Meet The Nuts On The Left

Eric Margolis channels Mo Elmasry, as both praise Robert Mugabe. Must be fun to be a columnist and have stupid opinions for money.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Speaking Of Jokes About Killing Politicians

This kind of looks like another one to me. What's the Tory message supposed to be? Dear fellow Albertans, your response to Dion's presentation of his Green Shift during stampede week was a little soft.

When Retired Sun Columnists Blog

In J. Douglas Creighton's case, you get a lively, warts and account of inside workings at the T.O. Sun and in the city itself. When its John Downing, I'm not so sure, all though this rant was entertaining enough:

They [city bureaucrats] have turned amalgamation into a cruel charade. The city hasn't grown that much in four decades, say from 2.15 million to 2.5 million, but the bureaucracy has exploded. Quantity up,quality way down.What we need is term limits, and maybe one term is too long.

My Favorite People

The Piraha are back in the news again. This fascinating Brazilian tribe of not more than 300 souls is especially notable for the way its language challenges certain assumptions behind Chomsky's theory of a Universal Grammar, a Language Organ, and by implication, perhaps, theories of Human Nature like those propounded by people like E.O. Wilson and Stephen Pinker.

Now, this is significant for a number of reasons. One of them is that this research was not directly undertaken by Daniel Everett, although his work inspired it. That's good because for many years Everett had been one of very few researchers in the Piraha language and, because language, tribe, and researcher all seem so exotic, accusations of his work being an elaborate hoax have been made. I suppose now that these accusations can definitively be put to rest.

Further, some of Everett's original claims, such as a complete lack of quantification in the language, seemed overstated--the Piraha can apparently "get across" quantificational meanings, even if they have no words for "some" or "all", or even if such quantifiers as they have are different and primitive with respect to those in, say, English. So, again, it is nice that third-party researchers have pointed to such an important peculiarity in the language.

Secondly, the work is important for the way in which it challenges Chomsky's ideas of a "Universal Grammar" and a "Language Organ". Essentially, in this idea the Language Organ is seen as an inference machine, a computer that is loaded with some version of First Order Logic elaborate enough to give you simple mathematics (as, for example, in Russel's Principia Mathematica). Thus, "number" should be present in all human languages.

And yet Piraha lacks this supposedly "universal design feature" (as I believe Everett calls it). Hence no Universal Grammar. And since a UG and, according to some (Fodor at one time), a universal lexicon are supposedly our heritage as a species, perhaps no Human Nature either.

A couple good places to start for more on the Piraha, who really are a fascinating people, are Everett's home page and this New Yorker article from last year.

(PS. when I say Mr. Everett is "exotic", I only mean eccentric. He has always cheerfully answered any email I sent him, and is a terrific advocate for the Piraha. And, as I say, the Piraha are wonderfully weird--natural empiricists, it seems, whose language has evolved in accordance with their extremely plain philosophy of living)

(PPS. The picture above is Mr. Everett and several Piraha men)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Green Shift Shifts Again

Once again (earlier version here) they've changed the message where they used to keep their list of business partners, explaining why that list is no longer available. This time they make it explicit: its all the Liberal Party's fault:

The List

We are sorry that due to the Liberal Party hijacking our name, and the resulting media attention on all of the businesses and institutions on the program, we have decided to keep this list more private to ensure that no one is being harassed.

Fortunately, a copy of the list circa about 2007 can be found here, if any journalists feel like testing the claim that these people might be so put off by the Liberal environmental plan and its perceived connection to that they would refuse to do business with the latter company.

Zytaruk Speaks, Briefly, And Perhaps A Wee Mystery Is Solved

Former FBI special agent Bruce Koenig reported, of the Zytaruk tape, that there were:

...irregularities in the copy tape and portions where an earlier recording had been taped over...

Alan Gough, one of the other experts that Harper's Tories hired to review the tape, reported that it was:

...not a continuous recording of one conversation.

"The interruption of words, changes of background ambiance, and changes of frequency response indicate that this may be three separate recordings. Any further analysis of these anomalies should be performed on the original recording and not on a copy," Gough said...

I contacted Mr. Zytaruk himself yesterday about these comments, and this morning he emailed me as follows:

The Harper interview was taped over another interview I did with someone else earlier that week.

So perhaps that explains that. Zytaruk recycled some audio-tape. Of course, unless the "someone else" could be mistaken Harper on the tape, and unless they too mentioned something about "financial considerations", this goes no distance towards showing that the tape was "doctored".

In fact, if this is ALL the Tory experts were complaining about, then I'd say it has the opposite effect.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fishy Green Shift

This I find this a little odd. Green Shift doesn't have its list of "partners" on its website. They give an interesting reason:

For the time being, we have removed the list of those who are part of the Green Shift program. We have done this, in part, to ensure that members of the press are not tempted to contact and disturb our friends during this particularly eventful time.

Just when they are trying to argue that the Liberal Party has harmed its present and future business opportunities, Green Shift is making it more difficult for reporters to access just those people who might be able to confirm/deny this claim--ie their business partners.

Even odder. The cached copy of this same page (which I first noticed a couple of weeks ago) gives a different explanation of the list's absence:

In progress

We are currently undergoing an analysis period, but we plan to be finished this section shortly. Please check back soon, as we hope to have something posted within the next few weeks.

In other words, the list hasn't been there for awhile, but they have taken to blaming its absence on the lawsuit.

C-61, Elections, And Quebec

Michael Geist has a post on Guelph NDP candidate Tom King's attempt to make Bill-61 a by-election issue:

Under Bill C-61, if you purchase a new computer and move the songs from your ipod to the new computer, the Conservatives believe that is a criminal offence,” said King. “This type of American approach to copyright law does not benefit Canadian consumers, or Canadian artists.

Interesting enough, though I have no idea if it will work or not. But even more interesting were these remarks in the comment section:

Two of the three by-elections are in Quebec. From what I've heard, opinion on C-61 is generally favourable. Quebecers have a unique, but fragile, culture and see the need to protect it. I've yet to see a single editorial from a French-language publication against the bill. If the NDP really wants to make this an election issue, I guess that means they see little chance of making any inroads in Quebec.

...which drew this response from Quebec resident Promateus:

For having discussed c-61 with my friends and familly, i can say that people are as receptive here as they are in TROC to arguments to the effect that criminalizing wide range of regular activities, with random and exemplary enforcement being the counterpart, is a shit principle for a copyright reform. In fact, if you check quebec\'s many distinctive take on issue and regulatory arrangements on many other issues, one finds that there seems to be an even bigger distastes here for crimilazing and policing petty crimes and various small social disturbances.


I am absolutely baffled that the Bloc do not see politicdal opportunism there, as their main opponent is not NDP but Conservatives (who managed to peirce so many of their stronghold such as Quebec City\'s region)which leaves this axis almost inarticuled in quebec politics. There are many advantages of \"occupying\" sqarely an axis of debate, and then to try to bring it to the front in good old agenda setting tactics. But bloc seems either slow to see this as an opportunity, unable to articulate them, or ignorant of the issues.

Can this be made the sleeper issue in the next Federal election?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Did Zytaruk Tape Over An Old Tape?

Is that ALL this is about? Contemplate, if you please, Experts contradict each other in Cadman-Harper controversy, originally from CP:

Former FBI special agent Bruce Koenig - who lists expert evidence about former U.S. president Richard Nixon's Watergate tapes and analysis of gun shots in the assassination of John F. Kennedy among his accomplishments - said more evidence is needed to judge the veracity and integrity of the disputed tape recording.


Koenig, who also performed an authenticity analysis of the Linda Tripp telephone recordings in the investigation of former U.S. president Bill Clinton, reported irregularities in the copy tape and portions where an earlier recording had been taped over, but concluded Zytaruk's original recording, his tape recorder and an external microphone if Zytaruk used one "are required to conduct a conclusive authenticity examination in a forensic audio laboratory."

Except the header is misleading. Koenig does not really contradict the report prepared by Alan Gough, one of the two audio experts that the Tories actually cited in their original 'plaint (Koenig's material was left out).

The other specialist hired by the party, Alan Gough, was less certain in his conclusions. Gough, co-founder of a firm called Integra View, concluded that the tape "is not a continuous recording of one conversation."

The interruption of words, changes of background ambiance, and changes of frequency response indicate that this may be three separate recordings. Any further analysis of these anomalies should be performed on the original recording and not on a copy," Gough said...

Was the recording of Harper's interview done over top previously erased material that still might have left audible traces? If so, then it is extremely doubtful that this old material would appreciably alter the content of the interview.

h/t Steve.

Her Bikini Is Organic

The Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleading Squad is putting out an "eco-sexy" calender. The paper is recycled, the swim-wear "organic cotton" although, frankly, I didn't know there was another kind of cotton. But who cares? The cheerleaders didn't write the press release, and even if they did, I wouldn't say anything that made a cheerleader feel blue.

h/t Gristmill.

Fisk Says Nice Things About Canada

And trashes Paul Martin, all in the same column. So it is good.

Slow news day, and a lazy Sunday. Can't say I'll be writing much beyond this.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What Ken Boshcoff Said

The Liberal Party’s Green Shift announced on June 19th marked the most aggressive anti-poverty program in 40 years. The ‘shift’ will transfer wealth from rich to poor, from the oil patch to the rest of the country, and from the coffers of big business to the pockets of low-income Canadians.

What they say he said:

CALGARY - An Ontario Liberal MP said Friday his party's Green Shift carbon tax proposal will raid Alberta's energy riches and transfer wealth "from rich to poor, from the oilpatch to the rest of the country

What he should have said:


Get it, Ken? What is written in Thunder Bay is read in Calgary.

Now We're Up To 33

...MPs who oppose Henry Morgentaler's being awarded the order of Canada. Here's the 11 that weren't on my previous list:

Conservative MP Loyola Hearn, St. John's South-Mount Pearl, New Foundland
Liberal MP Paul Zed, St. John, New Brunswick
Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz, Yorkton-Melville, Saskatchewan
Conservative MP Richard Harris, Cariboo - Prince George, British Columbia
Conservative MP Myron Thompson, Wild Rose, Alberta
Conservative MP Dean Allison, Niagara West-Glanbrook, Ontario
Conservative MP Joy Smith, Kildonan - St. Paul, Manitoba
Conservative MP Andrew Scheer, Regina-Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan
Conservative MP Peter MacKay, Central Nova, Nova Scotia
Liberal MP Robert Thibault. West Nova, Nova Scotia
Independent MP Bill Casey, Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley, Nova Scotia

Of the two new Liberals on the list, the evidence against Paul Zed is merely that he "told a constituent", but since he is considered to be one of the party's anti-choice MPs, this would not be a surprise. R. Thibault is not so listed, so perhaps that is a surprise, although he claims to be against the award on account of its "divisiveness".

Peter MacKay is a definite surprise, although he too cites "divisiveness" in his reasoning. But really, are his leadership ambitions showing? Is he reaching out the party goobers?

Perhaps the biggest surprise? As they've been asking over at FreeD: where's Stockwell?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Quiet Sun No Big Deal

Anthony Watts has been toying with this one for awhile: Its all quiet on the solar front. Too quiet.

And other some have been even more direct: no/few sun spots = dangerous global cooling.

The sun undergoes cyclical changes on multiple time scales that appear to correlate very well with temperatures. Long and relatively quiet solar cycles historically have been associated with cold global temperatures, short and very active cycles, warm periods. The current cycle 23 appears to be the longest in at least a century and may project to quieter subsequent cycles and cooling temperatures ahead.

Except: how unusual is a situation like the current one really? Not very, according to NASA's David Hathaway:

"There have been some reports lately that solar minimum is lasting longer than it should. That's not true," said NASA solar physicist David Hathaway. The ongoing lull in sunspot numbers "is well within historic norms for the solar cycle.

"The sun has been relatively quiet for more than two years. Hathaway said there were stretches in the 20th century when the slack periods lasted twice this long.

"It does seem like it's taking a long time," Hathaway said, "but I think we're just forgetting how long a solar minimum can last."

And here's a chart that compares the latest minimum in terms of "spotless days" to the 1933 minimum. Contra D'aleo (2nd quote above) our current quiet period is not even close to being the longest observed minimum this century:

Another way to examine the length and depth of a solar minimum is by counting spotless days. A "spotless day" is a day with no sunspots. Spotless days never happen during Solar Max but they are the "meat and potatoes" of solar minima.

Adding up every daily blank sun for the past three years, we find that the current solar minimum has had 362 spotless days (as of June 30, 2008). Compare that value to the total spotless days of the previous ten solar minima: 309, 273, 272, 227, 446, 269, 568, 534, ~1019 and ~931. The current count of 362 spotless days is not even close to the longest.

Cycle that, Anthony.

Comedian Hides Behind Free Speech

Guy Earle is holding a benefit show to raise funds for his legal defence. He says

"It is imperative that I don't lose this battle to find myself in a post-tribunal world where every stand-up comic - or artist for that matter - is subject to any kind of censorship or restriction on what they say while performing," he said.

"We comics are the canaries in a coal mine for freedom of speech."

Another martyr for the speechy cause. Sigh. Well, let me just say it again. This case is not primarily about free speech. Earle is being charged under section 8 of the BC Human Rights code, which covers "Discrimination in accommodation, service and facility". If you want an analogy, he's being charged with acting like a bit like an abusive waiter, not an edgy comedian.

As an interesting aside, according to one of the complainants supporters (see last comment), our two lesbians were not there to see comedians, Zesty's being a restaurant only part of which was given over to the open mic comedy show. However, "when the patio closed, they were taken to the table by the stage by the waitresses". This, if accurate, kind of spoils the notion that our gals were hecklers and therefore subject to comedy show justice.

h/t slap.

The 22

...MPs who have complained about Dr. Henry Morgentaler's Appointment to Order of Canada:

Conservative MP Jason Kenney, Calgary Southeast, Alberta
Conservative MP Andrew Scheer, Regina-Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan
Conservative MP Ken Epp, Sherwood Park, Edmonton
Conservative MP Rod Bruinooge, Winnipeg South, Manitoba
Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott, Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, Saskatchewan
Liberal MP Dan McTeague, Pickering-Scarborough East, Ontario
Liberal MP Paul Steckle, Huron-Bruce, Ontario
Conservative MP Art Hanger, Calgary Northeast, Alberta
Conservative MP Jeff Watson, Essex, Ontario
Conservative MP Dr. James Lunney, Nanaimo-Alberni, B.C
Conservative MP Pierre Lemieux, Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, Ontario
Conservative MP David Anderson, Cypress Hills - Grasslands, Saskatchewan
Conservative MP Rona Ambrose, Spruce Grove, Edmonton
Conservative MP Norm Doyle, St. John's East, Newfoundland
Conservative MP, Mike Allen, Tobique-Mactaquac, New Brunswick
Conservative MP Rob Moore, Fundy Royal, New Brunswick
Conservative MP Brad Trost, Saskatoon-Humboldt, Saskatchewan
Conservative MP Bev Shipley, Lambton Kent Middlesex, Ontario
Conservative MP Leon Benoit, Vegreville-Wainwright, Alberta
Conservative MP Gerry Ritz, Battlefords-Lloydminster, Saskatchewan
Conservative MP Colin Carrie, Oshawa, Ontario
Conservative MP Carol Skelton, Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar

No surprises, as far as I can tell. Or perhaps a surprise in that so few of the Liberal SoCons have come out and said anything. And maybe that's because It's hard to call Morgentaler controversial when most agree with him.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I Could Write Headlines Like That

Ed's actions speak volumes louder than words

But I don't wanna.

Just Apologize

Sure, Rick Dykstra held the thing back until Dion showed up in town for maximum effect. Sure, its just a rehash of an old joke told many times about many different world leaders. Sure, if the Conservatives were seriously upset they would have, as Kinsella suggests, called in the police. But oh! what a stupid thing to put in a piece of campaign literature.

Say sorry, and it goes away after one day. Don't, and it stays an issue.

Stupid assassination joke is on page three of this.

Update: Apology made. Incident over

I Think We Know What The Problem Is

Quite the "Fizzikz" debate in the comments. Those with a real background in the sciences may want to take a Maalox before reading.

And, suddenly, this poll makes a whole lot more sense.

(Incidentally: the correct answer is the one in the middle)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Its Sea Serpent Week!

By day Darren Naish studies giant Pterosaurs and other magnificent prehistoric beasts. By night, he writes the Tetrapod Zoology Blog, which deals with said creatures for the most part but, occasionally, strays into matters cryptozoological. This week Darren is writing a whole series on famous and not-so famous sea serpents!

Go on over and taste the serpenty goodness!

So The Goal

...was the headline. Those were Paul Well's thoughts when Kady O'Malley's sleuthing turned up how little was actually contained within the Dona Cadman affidavit that inspired "Cadman's widow denies author's story", in which Dona Cadman disputes some painfully trivial aspect of Zytaruk's alleged claims re the Cadman tape.

So does that mean "mission accomplished", as Paul seems to think? Well I don't know. The Tory braintrust has managed to generate a few favorable headlines in gullible Canwest papers that nobody reads, plus Kady's various debunking posts, and then this piece in today's Star in which Zytaruk claims never to have written what Mrs. Cadman disputes in the first place.

And that is pretty much it in the way of coverage, two days in. The Tories have hardly managed to defuse the Cadman Affair as a possible election issue; if anything, they've put the story back into circulation.

Frankly, this sounds like a "war room" with too much cash and time on its hand.

Note: Read this update from Kady where several of the players discuss at great length their positioning on the stairs outside the Cadman home when the now infamous Zytaruk/Stephen Harper interview took place. Or go out and frolic in the sun. That's probably better for your health and state of mind.

BCer was onto this one too.

PS. changed the above a bit based on 1st comment. One day I'll learn how to use that correction feature thingy.

CanWest Death Spiral Continues

Bourrie is away this week, so I am left to continue his gloating over the slow, agonizing demise of CanWest Media, owner of the National Post and other far-right rag. A month ago it was at $3.60 a share, last Friday $2.38, and at yesterday's close...$2.12. How much longer can this go on without the company being delisted?

And what is behind this inexorable decline?

We'll see if there's anyone outside the Southam building this morning selling pencils out of a cup. That's become a common sight these days.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Stockwell Day: Get Naked With Me

In which Stock sings the praises those new security devices that take a picture of what lies under your clothing. In fact, he waxes positively enthusiastic:

You can choose this method to go through the security line or you can use the usual method of walking through the metal scanner and then being subject to the wand and a 'pat down'. Next, as graphic and revealing as the image of yourself is, it is only seen by an operator who is located in another room entirely and who will never see your face or know your name. After verification that there is nothing dangerous attached to your body the image is deleted forever.

I always got something dangerous attached to my body, Stock, like a miniature-Weapon O' Mass Destruction. How do I know pictures of it won't turn up on the Internet?

If the operator spots anything which looks suspicious on the image of your skin (drugs taped to the body, a thin strip of plastic explosives, small non-metallic items, etc.) she sends an electronic signal to the officer outside the room who is watching you stepping from the glass column.

She? She???

Oh, in case you're wondering if I have subjected myself to this new 'peek-a-boo' high tech equipment, the answer is 'yes'. After being scanned I got to go into the separate room where the operator reviews the images.

How long did it take her to stop laughing?

More HRC News

This story slipped under my radar-screen. It concerns a gay civil servant who filed a complaint in 2005 re alleged abuses that occured in 1985. The CHRC usually declines to hear cases filed after more than a year, but has the discretion to tdo so under particular circumstances. Here, Paul Richard argued that the CHRC "failed to consider the discretionary provisions of the time limit". Not a section 13 case, but interesting nevertheless. Hardly the kind of thing likely to help the CHRC streamline its case-load.

Note: the story is from "Xtra" magazine. For "hot gay chat", follow the links.

Comets Over Canada: Part II

Ever since Geophysicist Allen West and others put it forward last year, I've been interested in the theory that a comet or other ET object exploding somewhere over Canada might have been the event that ended the Clovis Culture, triggered the Younger Dryas, and brought about the demise of the Mammoths.

Evidence seems to be mounting in support of the theory, but the latest brick in the wall

Samples of diamonds, gold and silver that have been found in the [Ohio] region have been conclusively sourced through X-ray diffractometry in the lab of UC Professor of Geology Warren Huff back to the diamond fields region of Canada.

The only plausible scenario available now for explaining their presence this far south is the kind of cataclysmic explosive event described by West’s theory. "We believe this is the strongest evidence yet indicating a comet impact in that time period," says Tankersley.

...raised a few problems for me. I wrote:

I cannot get this to jibe with earlier articulations of the theory. Specifically, geophysicist Allen West has previously suggested that the impactor exploded before touching ground (a la the Tunguska Event), this to explain the absence of a crater. But how could diamonds originating in the Canadian diamond fields have turned up so far South if not as ejecta from a (still undiscovered) crater?

I fired off an e-mail re these concerns to some of the theory's architects, and yesterday Mr. West himself was kind enough to respond and address this point:

The hypothesis is fairly complex. We believe the impact was a collision with a cloud of debris, much like Comet LINEAR [see above left]. The smaller objects would have detonated in the atmosphere, much like Tunguska. Depending on the angle of entry, the largest objects could have impacted the 3-km-thick ice sheet, creating ice-walled craters that left no lasting imprint on bedrock.

There are multiple processes that could account for the diamonds: 1) some diamonds appear to have condensed inside burning biomass due to the heat and pressure of the impacts/airbursts; 2) diamonds are known form from shock impact upon terrestrial materials, such as coal, peat, carbonate rock, which would have been entrained as detritus in the ice sheet or would have been near the surface under the ice; 3) diamonds may have been formed by carbon vapor deposition (CVD) in the plasma of the fireball; 4) pre-existing kimberlite diamonds could have been ejected into the air along with other detritus entrained in the ice sheet; and 5) the impacts/airbursts most likely created immense meltwater surges both from above and below the ice and which would have carried pre-existing diamonds and other debris along with the meltwater.

Thank you Mr. West.

While I still had his ear, I asked Mr. West about my favorite part of the theory, where several of his co-workers had produced evidence that, at around the time of the onset of the Younger Dryas

In other words, when the comet crashed over Canada, its as though every mammoth in proximity to the event took a shotgun blast full of metal tiny pellets to the head!

Back in December, I put this part of the theory to the lads and lasses of the Dinosaur Mailing list. Gregory S. Paul gave it a thumbs down:

Some in this discussion still seem to imagine that sand sized blast debris can be imbedded in bone surfaces or skin at substantial range from an meteoritic explosion. Tiny particles can travel at high velocities if they are being carried along by air that is itself an equally fast moving part of the supersonic shock wave (shock waves are shock waves because they move faster than sound) produced by the explosion, which are limited to the region immediately surrounding the point source. Anything hit by high velocity microdebris in this zone will be so severely damaged by even more obvious shock and heat that the sand impact will be incidental. The supposedly impacted tusks and bones should be shattered and scorched. Any living animal will be killed outright, the debris will not be the killing agent. Once the micro-debris hits stable air it slowsdown to harmless terminal velocity in well under a kilometer. Even pebble sized objects will slow down to a 100 mph in a few kilometers. That is why being hit by a round musket ball or grape shot at long range was not lethal.

Dr. West was kind enough to respond to this as well:

Most discussions cite the usual explanation for impacts, which is true in most cases. However, that theory fails to explain the Carancas impact ( or the particles in mammoth tusks. New research hints at a "tunneling" effect for some impactors, particularly fragmented ones. In those cases, the leading objects tunnel into the atmosphere and explode, apparently opening the way for trailing objects to reach ever closer to the surface. Some bunker-buster bombs work on the same principle. The first bomb opens a crater, the 2nd digs deeper, and subsequent ones even deeper.

In simulations, the initial explosions of a highly fragmented comet appear to be able to push aside the atmosphere and allow the particles from subsequent explosions to travel with almost no atmospheric friction. This is all theoretical but explains some seemingly inexplicable phenomena.

So there you have it!!!