Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gauging The Year Ahead

Stock up on throwing knives! Invest your money in freeze-dried food and shotguns! From an economic stand-point, 2009 is going to stink!

Luckily, economic indicators exist in any work-place environment that can help you determine how your company will fare in the year ahead.

Firstly, what is the quantity and quality of the Xmas munchies your company put out this season? Where I am, it was nothing but unshelled peanuts, and people ate 'em and liked 'em. Thats a bad sign.

At your Xmas office party, how many people were slipping extra slices of meat into their pockets or purses? Did women-folk battle over the last ham-bone, for the "young 'uns" back home?

And if you see a guy wandering around asking about your HVAC system, you're fucked. The place is being sold out from under you. Something everyone should be thinking about, especially if you work for the feds.

Tory Turmoil in '09?

Flaherty booted from cabinet? Charest pressed to run for the Federal leadership by Quebec operatives?

One can dream, and in any case this bit has already come true:

Harper's position within his own party will grow progressively weaker, as loyalists digest the political disasters of the last several months.

Have a happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Particularly Useless Poll

A sample of only 600? The horse-race question mixed in with a bunch of procedural stuff about how Iggy was chosen and material re the late, unlamented coalition? And yet the Libs are at 30% because:

It is as if the support by Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe for the Liberal-led coalition encouraged some Bloc and NDP voters to trust the Liberals and jump to them in December.

Rather hard to believe.

Canoe In Deep Decline

It looks like the National Post isn't the only paper in trouble. The London Free Press, part of Quebecor's Canoe chain of newspapers, has scrapped its Sunday Edition.

Yet another media outlet that's too right-wing for Canada? Or is it something more?

News On The Net: Cheap = Shoddy

What's wrong with this picture? "A tragic story, handled ineptly," according to the Sun Family Blog.Probably the most egregious thing is using a shot of the Rockies in summer for an avalanche story. Conclusion:

As a former Sun staffer who was constantly told we're cutting staff in newsrooms to populate the website, only to see the website understaffed by the cheapest staff possible, front pages like this seem like poetic justice. Obviously, you do get what you pay for.

And, oh yeah, this picture still hasn't been changed.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Note On Mr. Bruinooge's Behavior

I have been informed that Mr. Bruinooge's wife will be having a baby within the next day or so. That might go some ways to explain the timing of this.

Nevertheless, here's hoping everything goes smoothly and congratulations to the family.

And File The Fangs At Least Once Every Six Months

Michael Ignatieff, interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada:

Resolution: "I do not usually make New Year's resolutions. But I think I shall make an exception for 2009: I resolve to trim my eyebrows more often."

Excellent decision. Power shall soon be ours.

The Real Issue...

...with the Israeli response to Hamas rocket attacks does not lie in considerations of proportionality. It lies in the fact that none of the strategies under contemplation going forward will have any effect on anything beyond the shortest of short terms. Furthermore, nobody in the Israeli leadership structure really expects them to. Here's Yossi Alpher, from a couple of days ago:

The official end of the six-month cease-fire with Hamas in Gaza is not going to change very much in Israel-Hamas relations. Of course, it could change a lot for those Israelis and Palestinians who may now again be exposed to more intense physical danger. But just as before the cease-fire and during the cease-fire, the country will continue not knowing what to do about Hamas.


AN ALTERNATIVE military strategy not yet invoked would be to launch a full-fledged military invasion aimed at reoccupying Gaza and physically eliminating Hamas. The high price the country would pay in civilian and military casualties, the difficulty in maintaining control over 1.5 million civilians in reoccupied Gaza, the trauma of an unsuccessful military campaign in Lebanon in 2006, the regional and international complications and, most glaringly, the absence of a workable exit strategy that could turn over a pacified Gaza Strip to an alternative sovereign capable of maintaining control - all combine to prohibit such an adventure. Of course, this doesn't prevent some of our politicians from talking about it endlessly.


Meanwhile, yet another strategy - cease-fire - has failed, at least for now. The development of effective anti-Kassam and anti-mortar weapons that could neutralize Hamas' offensive capabilities is years away. Hamas appears to be here to stay - on the Israeli, Palestinian and Middle East Islamic scene. Under these circumstances, whether we are now entering into an informal cease-fire, a new round of conflict or something in between appears to be largely irrelevant to the big picture. That we have difficulty acknowledging this fact - that our ineffective leaders continue to bluster day in and day out with an utter lack of credibility about what we are going to do to Hamas rather than acknowledging strategic bankruptcy as a first step toward more constructive thinking - is part of the problem.

Here's Yossi and others from today's Guardian. Note that the most anybody is hoping for is, come the next cease fire, "more acceptable terms".

Ontario To Become Green Giant?

Tyler Hamilton's "look ahead" to green developments in 2009 contains a lot of interesting Ontario content (stuff I didn't know about, in other words). For example:

I've written about this before, but to recap, the Ontario government is apparently working on a piece of legislation aimed at dramatically boosting local investment in renewable-energy projects by giving green power priority on the grid. Ideally, the Ontario act would mirror a similar piece of legislation that Germany introduced in 2001 and that turned the European country into a wind and solar powerhouse.

And while I knew of an off-shore wind farm being proposed for Lake Ontario, most of the news seems to have been about the grousing and bouts of NIMBYism it has kicked up. Nevertheless, its a serious possibility that may be given the go-ahead by the end of '09. If so, then we have the makings of a whole new industry within the province. Maybe it can soak up some of those unemployed auto-workers.

Multibrid, the German maker of offshore turbines, says it wants to locate manufacturing in Ontario because of the province's skills base, manufacturing capacity and potential for offshore wind. But it won't come here if we're not prepared to build the projects. An earlier move by a Great Lakes state could lure Multibrid from Ontario, essentially stealing an anchor tenant that could lay the foundation for thousands of new jobs. Time's a wasting, Ontario.

In perhaps more disturbing news, next year

...we'll find out who the government has picked to build Ontario's first new nuclear plant in two decades, as well as what it's likely to cost. Estimates from U.S. utilities show that costs have doubled or tripled initial expectations, and some jurisdictions – such as South Africa – have cancelled plans to build new reactors because of high cost.

A facebook group Grand Erie Energy Quest (GEEQ) has popped up offering

...a petition to ensure citizens have a democratic say in the energy future of Nanticoke.

...should the province endorse the Bruce Power proposal for a new plant in Haldimand and Norfolk Counties. More information on that can be found here.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dawg's Wrong

Palestinian fighters fire their rockets at Israeli civilians. Israeli planes drop their bombs on Palestinian civilians.

The Israelis have better weapons. You expect them not to use those weapons?

There are no heroes today in the Gaza Strip. Just different varieties of asshole.

Iggy's Family Memoir

True Patriot Love: Four Generations in Search of Canada

It took the Ignatieffs four generations to find Canada, if they're not still looking.

My dad's gang found Canada 1st try, and they're all paddys from the Irish peat bogs. Nobody's asked us to lead the nation.

Arctic Sea Ice Recovery Stalls?

Mark Serreze of the National Snow and Ice Data Center:

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about this. We are quite certain that the almost complete lack of increase in ice extent since about December 10 is real. Satellite-derived ice extent from the SSM/I (Special Sensor Microwaver/Imager) used to create the time series on our website was checked against extent based on the AMSR (Advanced Microwave Sounding Radiometer) instrument. AMSR shows the same pattern. This gives us independent confirmation. The past 10 days has seen a very unusual atmospheric pattern. It has been very warm over the Arctic Ocean, and wind patterns have favored a compact ice cover. While the lack of increase in ice extent is certainly quite unusual as well as interesting, we would not read too much into it right now, at it is just weather. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next week.
The graph is from a couple of days later than the comment, so it looks as though coverage has begun to increase once again, although it has turned far lower than the long-term average. See here for more.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Quick Correction Re Farmers' Almanacs And Global Warming

From This Is Just To Say:

My 2009 Farmer's Almanac includes an article called "Is global warming on the wane?" Curiously, the graphs included don't look anything like those presented by University of Victoria professor Andrew Weaver on climate change at the UofC last month

Note that the Old Farmer's Almanac is not The Farmer's Almanac. They look very similar and have both been around for years but are not the same. More information here. For what its worth, I bought my mother-in-law The Harrowsmith Almanac this year because of this.

"If I Hadn’t Voted For The Guy Who Invited Warren To Give The Invocation At His Inauguration...

...I would probably find this all extremely funny."

Obama reaches out to Young Earth Creationists.

Free Dominion And The CHRC: Another Section 13 Complaint Coming Down The Pipe

A few bits of "inside baseball" stuff re Free Dominion and their ongoing troubles with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

1) Heavily redacted documents supplied to Connie and Ed by the CHRC prove rather conclusively that investigator Dean Steacy was not randomly investigating the forum in advance of specific complaints raised against it. The timing of his actions have been a bugaboo for ages now, as it was felt that Mr. Steacy had it in for FreeD merely because of the board's politics. From January of this year:

According to the documents Connie and I were served from the Canadian Human Rights Commission last summer, Marie-Line Gentes did not bring Free Dominion to the commission's attention with her bogus complaint against us until September 29th, 2006, over five months after Dean Steacy began his 'investigation' by registering as jadewarr.

However, as Connie now notes:

I posted a thread the day we got them saying that it appeared that Dean Steacy lied under oath when he said that he signed up on FD as jadewarr because the Intake document of the first complaint was dates several weeks after he signed up. As I was scanning the pages today, however, I found an email buried amongst a bunch of 2007 pages that were stapled together, and it looks like a message to Dean Steacy about Free Dominion from three or four days before he decided to "jadewarr" us. You can see that (page 12), and the rest of the FD Files here.

2) There is in fact a 2nd complaint against Free Dominion in the works. No further details have been provided thus far.

Friday, December 26, 2008

More Georganne Burke Connections

Kinsella has been harvesting information on the Grinchess that almost stole Chanukah . One of the facts to emerge is that Ms. Burke sits on (or sat on) the BOD of the Canadian Coalition for Democracies. These guys were founded by Conservative MP Peter Kent back in 2003. In addition to engaging in some hard-core Muslim bashing, the CCD, whose mandate says nothing about Canada's abortion laws (or lack thereof), recently appeared on a list of organizations supporting the Canada Family Action Coalition complaint to the Judicial Council (.pdf here) re Henry Morgentaler's receiving the Order of Canada.

I contacted CCD President Al Gordon via email about how that happened, but all he did was regale me with with vague threats of what sounded like legal action. Given Mr. Kent's pro-choice views, it is difficult to imagine that he would have gotten behind this effort. The most likely hypothesis is that one of the other members of the CCD Board of Directors gave CFAC the nod.


Two Favorite Tunes Of 2008

Why I secretly wish I was a rock star.

These guys have gone from sounding like Skynyrd to sounding like Prince. Weird, but good.

The Economics Of Climate Change

Once upon a time, debates about climate policy were primarily about the science. An inordinate amount of attention was focused on the handful of “climate skeptics” who challenged the scientific understanding of climate change. The influence of the skeptics, however, is rapidly fading; few people were swayed by their arguments, and doubt about the major results of climate science is no longer important in shaping public policy.

As the climate science debate is reaching closure, the climate economics debate is heating up.

Still lazy and overstuffed with meat. Until such time as I am feeling more energetic, Frank Ackerman provides a nice overview of the state of the economic debate re climate change and makes a case for acting immediately. Nice discussion of the importance of "discount rates". You'll laugh! You'll cry!

Thursday, December 25, 2008


The pig is dead. The bird goes down tonight. Eggnog and beer in between.

Xmas is Hell.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Have A Merry War On Xmas!

This may be my last post until the other side. I'm off to my local Walmart to harass the staff by bitching about how they've got two representations of baby Jesus for every Menorah and if they don't even up things pronto in the name of diversity I'll never shop there again and I'll sue their asses to the wall.

I've also printed up a couple of blank CHRC complaint forms. When Walmart management sees you filling out one of those they crap. Maybe I can wrangle myself a couple of free poinsettias.

This is my favorite part of the holidays!

Cheers, and all hail Cthulu,


Mike Puffy?

Picture is From here ( Dig the file name. No I did not rename it. This guy caught it first

Acne And The Principled Conservative

Somebody over there is really obsessed with Accutane.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

This Time Its Papal!!!

Best headline of the day:

Pope Benedict learnt nothing from his time in the Hitler Youth

...although the piece itself doesn't live up.

Best comment of the day:

...when the Pope busts out with this kind of brute medieval crap, it’s really hard to restrain oneself from pointing out that he is an elderly man who dresses up in a white kimono and pointy wizard’s hat, waves about a golden shepherd’s crook and pretends to hear voices from a supernatural being who tells him what kinds of sexual acts are good and what kinds are filthy. Apologies to Catholic sensibilities, I love the rituals and respect the intellectual tradition, but, you know, come on.

The hat also makes him look like a 7 foot condom.

Update: dozens of pictures that make the pope look sinister! Click here and feel the terror!

Jurassic Parka: Dinosaurs Did Fine In The Russian Arctic

Dinosaurs have often been portrayed as ‘tropical’ animals, sensitive to climatic fluctuations and iving under the warm equable climates of the Mesozoic (see, e.g., Ginsburg 1986). However, recent discoveries of vertebrate assemblages at high latitudes show that dinosaurs could live close to the Mesozoic poles from the Early Jurassic until the Late Cretaceous, under climatic conditions, which, in any case, cannot be considered as tropical (Rich et al. 1997, 2002; Buffetaut 2004). The presence of dinosaurs in polar palaeoenvironments has important implications on the question of dinosaur extinction (Buffetaut 2004). Indeed, climate changes toward colder and/or more contrasted climates around the Cretaceous/Paleocene Boundary have often been put forward as one of the main causes for dinosaur extinction (see, e.g., Sloan 1976; Sloan et al. 1986; Officer et al. 1987; Landis et al. 1996).
Teeth From the Kakanaut site demonstrate the broad diversity of animals in the area:

Dromaeosaurids, tyrannosaurids, Hadrosaurs, Neoceratopsians. You name it.

Action & Reaction

One of the most concrete manifestations of Global Warming in Canada is the Mountain Pine Beetle outbreak that has swept through B.C. and, now, is threatening large parts of Alberta.

In its 2006 budget, the Harper Government made deep cuts to programs designed to study the beetle and fight its spread. Two years later, the inevitable has occurred:

We started about this same time last year in December with an initial grant of $5 million from Sustainable Resources Development (SRD). The bottom line is that we didn’t have enough money to do what we had proposed to do so we had to set some priorities. Unfortunately these priorities were mostly on the south side. Basically all we did up here last year was to respond to call in’s from land owners, what we call the back yard. This included windbreaks, but we did not get involved in quarter sections. The crown is not doing anything on crown land in this part of the world so we only dealt with less than 200 trees in your area last year...

It was hoped that this year's hard winter would kill off the beetles. However, they have proven more cold resistant than previously suspected. And they say that if they get a foothold in Northern Alberta then, they say, the only thing that can stop their spread East is the Atlantic Ocean.

Monday, December 22, 2008

On The Other Hand, Who's Gonna Be Santa At The CTV Xmas Party? making these appointments, Mr. Harper is acknowledging that he will not be able to achieve a Triple-E senate - Alberta's constitutional hobby horse for more than two decades. Another piece of Reform Party baggage bites the dust. For Canada, that's excellent news.

The CPoC continues its crawl towards the Canadian mainstream, by becoming as "seamy" as the LPoC.

How shall they claim moral superiority now?

Whose Santa's Daddy?

I don't know whether the explanation for this makes the graphic seem more or less weird, but I like it.

On Ancient Lizardy Things

For a fossil so controversial, Longisquama insignis is a nondescript little beast. I've actually seen the one collected specimen, or at least a high-grade cast of it, at the ROM a couple of years ago, touring with the Russian dinosaurs exhibit. The entire animal could probably have stood in the palm of my hand.
But Longisquama has assumed a significance all out of proportion to its size due to the role it has played in the debate over bird origins. As you can see, the creature possessed a series of long scale structures growing on its back. Some (Feduccia, among others) have interpreted these structures as being feathers, or at least "proto-feathers", which the animal employed to glide among the Triassic tree-tops, or as a kind of parachute. They have suggested that Longisquama therefore counts as one of the earliest bird ancestors in the fossil record. Thus its existence tells against the dominant theory in paleontological circles: that birds have descended from dinosaurs (are dinosaurs, as a matter of fact).
Now there's a new paper out--"Feather-like development of Triassic diapsid skin appendages"--which may settle the matter once and for all.
And, nope, they're not feathers:
Based on new finds and their comparison with the type material, we show that Longisquama’s appendages consist of a single-branched internal frame enclosed by a flexible outer membrane. Not supporting a categorization either as feathers or as scales, our analysis demonstrates that the Longisquama appendages formed in a two-stage, feather-like developmental process, representing an unusual early example for the evolutionary plasticity of sauropsid integument.
And nope, they're not any kind of flight structure. They are not even paired as in the illustration above:
The theory of an airborne Longisquama using its elongate appendages as gliding devices was introduced for the first time by Sharov (1970) and later adopted and adapted by others Haubold and Buffetaut 1987; Jones et al. 2000; Martin 2004). It is rejected here for two reasons: (1) According to our and previous observations (Sharov 1970; Unwin et al. 2000; Unwin and Benton 2001), the holotype comprises only a single fanned-out row of appendages with no indication for the postmortem bending and loss of a second row, as assumed by Jones et al. (2000). (2) Unlike reptilian gliders, such as Coelurosauravus, Sharovipteryx, kuehneosaurids, and draco lizards, whose wing membranes are spanned close to the trunk and supported by limbs, ribs, or bony spines (Fig. 4a, see Schaller 1985), a gliding Longisquama with two rows of dorsal appendages would possess a continuous airfoil only distally where the expanded portions may partially overlap (Fig. 4b). With the bulk lift created far from the center of mass, the strain on the anchoring would be high, maximizing the risk of structural failure, especially if a flexible joint existed as in the reconstruction of Haubold and Buffetaut (1987). The orderly arrangement of appendages in PIN 2584/9 (Fig. 4c) has been interpreted as a “thoracic wing” by Martin (2004), but preservation effects or an alternative function can explain it as well: If the animal could fan out a single row of appendages by rotation in the sagittal plane (Fig. 4d), it might have used this mechanism only occasionally—e.g., for protection mimicry or for sexual display—most of the time, the appendages might have rested in a horizontal position. As in PIN 2584/9, they would overlap and form a series of successively smaller elements. Erection would have been realized by a system of longitudinal muscles attached to the deeply countersunk follicles.

Oh well. Here's a reconstruction showing the scales in their correct position. They might have been some kind of sexual display structure, which is not nearly as exciting.

Defining Iggy

From The CPoC website:


So far I am not impressed with their efforts.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snowmagedon And Global Warming

Pictures such as this set off a good deal of discussion in the blogosphere last week over the connection between Global Warming and big winter storms like the one just winding up outside of my window. Some of this discussion was well-meaning but confused, and some of it quite painfully stupid.
I thought I would pinch from a recent essay by blogger Tamino to help clarify things.
The graph above shows the NA snow cover trend back to the 1970s. Tamino's analysis of it and several similar graphs concludes as follows:
An exceptionally clear, well-written post.

He Forgot To Mention Sexxxy

5) BigCityLib Strikes Back[...] This blog is run by M.J. Murphy, who writes about politics and does a little investigative journalism. It’s clever, it’s punchy, and it’s well worth going to each day.

From Michael Taube's top ten list of Canadian left-wing bloggers in today's NP. Since he claims the list is in "no particular order", but that Calgary Grit is the one "must read" on it, I am going to claim #2 spot, and anyone I see that even vaguely resembles Dan Arnold is going to get a kick in the ankle.

LifeSiteNews Going Under?

Dear LifeSiteNews Readers,

On December 10 we reported our disappointment that only 170 readers had sent in a donation since our Christmas fundraising campaign began on December 5th. [Remembering that we have just topped a million page views a month...HW] The total then was $7005, enough to run LifeSiteNews for about 5 days.

Thankfully, 650 generous readers have now taken the step to partner with LifeSiteNews with a gift. The total for this campaign has reached $37,298. That's still far from where we need to be and represents gifts from only a small fraction of our readership, but it is a significant improvement over the Dec. 10 results.

88 readers contributed $5 and the rest contributed a wide range of different amounts. Every one of these has been greatly appreciated.

We are surprised however, at the continued reluctance of most of our regular readers, which number in the many tens of thousands. Is $5 too much to ask for a year's worth of original, principled reporting on the issues that matter most?

Please consider taking a few moments to respond to LSN's Christmas 2008 appeal with a donation of just $5. Of course, if you can give more than that, we welcome and need such generous gifts as well.

Since this desperate plea was published, the folks at Lifesite have added roughly another $12,000. However, that still leaves them about $100,000 short of where they need to be.

I've been thinking of throwing them a few bucks myself. After all, if these guys weren't around to ridicule, half the progressive blogosphere would disappear in their wake.

But then I saw that baby-blue hoody with Bob Marley on the front and I realized that I hadn't bought myself enough Xmas presents yet.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

End Of The P2P Wars?

Not quite. The RIAA has switched from one questionable practice to another. Instead of suing you, they'll lobby your ISP to cut service. I see this strategy failing as well.

Question: the DMCA has proven useless, so why does Canada see a homegrown version?

WTBA Moves On Slump

Buckets has a letter from Vice President Dan Doherty:

Dear Readers

The Western Businesses and Taxpayers Association has contacted Ernie Slump (BC Chair) for clarification of his questionable comments. Consequentially, Mr. Slump and the WBTA have mutually decided to dissolve the relationship based on incompatible philosophies.

I would like to clarify our position on this matter; our policy is one of inclusion therefore the Western Businesses and Taxpayers Association does not support any offensive remarks and or actions, particularly regarding ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

The Western Businesses and Taxpayers Association is not a political party but an association formed to gather information and garner support for a political party yet to be selected.

Warmest Regards
Dan Doherty
Vice President

Well, good on Mr. Doherty and Co. The WTBA wants to be treated as a "serious" organization, and this kind of move will go some ways towards achieving that end. Now they might approach their policy chair Sheldon Johnston re some of the apparently inaccurate statements in his CV.

The Imam Strikes Back! Abou Hammaad Sulaiman Al-Hayiti Speaks!

I am unimpressed by the latest CHRC "scandal", and particularly unimpressed by the comparison of Mr. Al-Hayiti's book (L’Islam ou l’Intégrisme?), which the CHRC argued did not meet the Section 13 standard, to the writings of Stephen Boisson, which were judged to have met that standard. Most of my arguments get hashed out in the comments (ignore NAMBLA-Dick) here, but the short version is that Boisson's letter to the Red Deer Advocate triggered a concrete incident of gay bashing by one of Mr. Boisson's associates, and it is pretty easy to interpret his letter in context as a concrete call to action against the local homosexual community (as opposed to Mr. Al-Hayiti's book, in which the offensive language is rather vague).

In any case, while Mr. Boisson has argued his case on various blogs and other online forums, Mr. Al-Hayiti thus far has not. So I fired off a quick email to the yahoo group he is associated with Mr. Al-Hayiti's and asked him:

Would Mr. Al-Hayiti like to respond to the claims in this and other stories that his book contains language likely to expose gays, lesbians, and jews to "hatred and contempt"?

Mr. Al-Hayiti responded as follows:

Maybe the complaint should have been against the Qor'an, the Word of God! Or maybe even against the bible also! Do you think the commission should censor God? Everything I said in my book is from the revelation, not from me! I have nothing else to say.

Thank you!

So there you have it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

You Know You're Disunified When You Fink Out The Party Leader To The Cops

And that's what a number of Ontario Conservatives are attempting to do

Some party members were so frustrated at [John] Tory's leadership that they had been circulating copies of the Criminal Code of Canada, suggesting he was breaking the law by promising to try to find a job or other source of income for one of the PC caucus members so they would step aside for him.

It is an offence under Sec. 124 for anyone to “sell an appointment to or a resignation from an office,” or for anyone who “receives, gives or procures ... a reward, advantage or benefit of any kind as consideration ... to secure the appointment of any person to an office.”

I say, straight-up, that the Tories should keep the guy, for reasons I explain here. Short version: a "strong horse" ideologue from the back woods [R. Hillier, for example] will not win in Ontario for a long time, unless the economy collapses utterly and we all return to a state of Barbarianism. Best keep the moderate you've got.

Or don't, and Dalton will be in power until 2020. Wasn't there, after all, a Psycho IV?

Sheldon Johnston And The CHRC

Sheldon Johnston is the WTBA's Policy Chair. At the end of his CV, Mr. Johnston writes:

2003-2006 – Fought human rights case against the Canadian Forces for refusal of admittance as a Pentecostal Chaplain. I won the case before the Canadian Human Rights Commission on the grounds that the CF refused entrance to members of my church and under-represented other Pentecostal churches based upon discriminatory hiring policies. This groundbreaking case opened the doors for the induction of the first Muslim Chaplain to the CF, and changed the dynamics of chaplaincy in the CF to be more open and inclusive of religious minorities.

This is fascinating and quite encouraging for it, in one fell swoop, refutes the Speech Warrior contention that 1) Conservatives and/or Christians never employ the Canadian Human Rights system and that, 2) HRCs and HRTs are biased towards Conservatives and/or Christians. For more background, there is a good story on the early stages of Johnston's complaint in Christian Week from July 8, 2003.

Except that the only pertinent record that I can find in the CHRT archives would seem to contradict Mr. Johnson's claim to have won his case. From the decision (in which Mr. Johnson is referred to as The Complainant):

[33] The Complainant has thus ignored or failed to comply with numerous time limits set by the Tribunal in the present case. Based on the evidence before me, there is no reasonable excuse to explain the Complainant's late or non-existent compliance with all of these Tribunal directions. I cannot but infer that the Complainant has no interest in following through with his complain

[34] The Tribunal is entitled to protect its process from abuse brought on by this sort of wholesale disregard of time limits, which in this instance has rendered the case completely static for at least two years, an unreasonably long time. I therefore grant the Respondent's motion. The complaint is dismissed.

Furthermore, if you look at this decision, you will note that it is dated 2007/10/17. Even if there is more documentation that I have missed--if, for example, there is another complaint that Mr. Johnston filed and pursued to a successful conclusion--the decision emanating from this successful complaint would almost certainly have to have been issued after October 2007.

But the first Muslim Chaplain to join the CF was Suleyman Demiray, and he was welcomed into the service in late 2003. So it is very difficult to see how Mr. Johnston's complaint could have had any impact on this event.

h/t Buckets.

Michael Ignatieff: A Liberal Idealist With Neo-Conservative Impulses?

It being a slow news day, I have nothing to offer but this article on Iggy's foreign policy from Embassy Magazine. It offers nothing in the way of new information, but does go some way to explaining why many within the Liberal party view Ignatieff with discomfort.

Incidentally, of all the reasons to criticize Iggy's support the invasion of Iraq, one that doesn't get alot of play is the fact that he had already seen several years of things going wrong in Afghanistan and Kosovo. Empire Lite is an extended bitch against the same kind of mismanagement (nation building "on the cheap", he calls it) that has afflicted the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

One might argue that: fool me once, shame on you; fool me thrice, shame on me.

(Although as fodder for attack ads I think this stuff is mostly water lone gone under the bridge. I suspect now the line of attack will be his "installation" as Lib Leader, which won't work, and his status as an "intellectual", which might cut a little more sharply.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

More From WTBA Vice President Dan Doherty

Hello All

Because of various comments appearing on blogs I thought it would be prudent to answer some questions about me and my relationship with the WBTA.

In 2004, I ran for the Separation Party of Alberta in Calgary Shaw against Cindy Ady, in 2008, I ran for the Wildrose Alliance in the constituency of Highwood. I am a conservative who believes that liberal and conservative principles should co-exist in a spirit of bi-partisanship, hence strengthening and unifying democratic principals.

I joined the WBTA because I believe that Eastern Canada has marginalized the West politically for too many years. I have seen little change in the two decades that I have lived in Western Canada. I have however, heard many politicians from Eastern Canada express their desire to dismantle Western Canada’s economy vis-à-vis taxes (Stephan Dion Green Shift platform) and other schemes such as Cap and Trade (supported by Gilles Duceppe). I believe one must approach this from a balanced perspective. Any drastic shift either way will undoubtedly cause drastic effects in our economy. In the interests of keeping this entry short, I will not go into detail on this subject except to say I have and will always support better care of our environment.

The prospect of Western secession has both Conservative and Liberal overtones. From a Liberal perspective, the potential social programs we Westerners have compromised to support Eastern programs are staggering. I lived in Montreal for roughly 20 years and I am well aware of the social programs of Quebec.

A few weeks ago, CJAD in Montreal did a radio poll and one third of those Quebecer’s polled believe Quebec supports Western Canada including Alberta. My goal, put quite simply, is to open a dialog of what is BEST for Western Canada. Addressing this question in a candid forum is in everybody’s best interest. One question you could ask yourself now is, “If Western Canada were already a separate nation, would we be negotiating to become a part of Canada?”

In closing, the WBTA is NOT a political party; it is an association to gather support for a political party yet to be selected. I look forward to all your comments. You may email me at

Warmest Regards
Dan Doherty
VP Western Businesses & Taxpayers Association

Doherty On Slump

This letter is in response to the recent comments circulating regarding Ernie Slump. The Western Businesses and Taxpayers Association do not support any offensive remarks and or actions, particularly regarding ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation. David Crutcher and our Council have contacted Ernie to provide him with a forum to explain his comments.

Our policy is one of inclusion and we deeply apologize to anyone this may have offended. I will keep you up to date of any new developments.

We greatly appreciate you bringing this to our attention and I look forward to any comments or questions you may have.

Warmest Regards
Dan Doherty
Vice President
Western Businesses & Taxpayers Association.

Background here and here.

Hell Freezes Over!

Power From Traffic, Redux

Another attempt at generating "green energy":

A new type of road being developed in Israel uses crystals embedded in the asphalt to turn the vibration caused by cars into electricity.

Engineers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology claim the piezoelectric crystals can produce up to 400 kilowatts from a 1-kilometre stretch of dual carriageway. The system is to be tested on a 100-metre stretch of road in northern Israel in January.

A spokesperson for the Environmental Transport Association (ETA) said: “Many predict a massive shift to electric cars, and it may be the roads themselves that help provide some of the power needed.”

Well, I doubt this last bit, as converting the entire (for example) British road system to this technology would only generate enough power to drive 34,500 small cars. Still, any projects attempting to harvest and use waste energy are to be encouraged.

And this reminds me of a Centenial College experiment from a few years back in which students tried to determine whether wind generated by traffic on the 401 could power a turbine. It could not, unfortunately:

Though a turbine was not built in T.O., here's an artist's conception of what one might look like:

Cool huh? Mind you, if one got loose and started rolling East at 60 Mph...

Downturn Hard On Climate Change Deniers

Fred S. Singer is a 1st generation Denialists. In his hey-day, he advised Eisenhower on space developments and held that the moon Phobos was an artificial satellite launched by an ancient Martian race.
Later, Singer founded the Science & Environmental Policy Project(SEPP), from which the screen-cap above is taken. This group disputes the prevailing scientific views of climate change, ozone depletion, and secondhand smoke[1]
So why the unseemly cry for funds?
Eli Rabbit has, apparently, been following SEPP's financials for years now. If you're interested in how one of the most prominent denialists gets paid, click on the link above. It is an interesting read.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More From Ernie Slump, B.C. Chair For Western Business and Taxpayers Association

You've read about the WBTA's B.C. Chair Ernie Slump here and here. Well, it turns out Ernie is a bit peculiar even for a Western Separatist. For one thing, not all of B.C. is even being invited to the Western Separatist Party:

Guess what ! Greater Vancouver and the Island will not be a part of the New West ! Albertans hate that part of BC as much as they hate your part of the country [Ontario]. Too many free loading NDP'er's and socialists. ! ! ! And: Too many third world immigrants and refugees, the Liberals deliberately allowed into Canada and the west, to overwhelm and destroy the western Canadian Conservative vote.

For another thing, watch it if the yankees ever crash the place!

Someday the Americans may decide to invade the west. Should it happen while I am still alive, I would identify Liberal and NDP targets for the U.S.Marine sniper teams. I am a lot more pro-American than I am pro-Canadian...

Some rather conflicting loyalties here, I think. If the U.S. army ever invaded Edmonton, Ernie might be riding the lead tank!

Stockwell Day And The Underwear Of The Future

First off, ever notice those big billboards advertising a new line of men's briefs? Well, I don't think the guy who owns the business will mind me mentioning that he met with me to discuss his product. Let me tell you right away, he was not asking for taxpayer support for his item. We were discussing some marketing related issues. What impressed me was the fact that here we have a local guy, who had an innovative idea on how to upgrade a product that's been around since Adam needed 'cover'. The impressive part is that he got busy, put together an investment and now has employees working right here and in China.

Stockwell is almost certainly referring to "Saxx" brand underwear, designed by Kelowna businessman Trent Kitsch. Here's Trent describing the circumstances behind the birth of Saxx:

"Last summer, I was in Alaska, fishing with my dad, and my testicles were kind of stuck to my legs.... Most men can relate to that, so I started thinking of how I could redesign men‘s underwear to be more comfortable.”

And here's Trent discussing the product itself:

"They have a total interior, patented design,” he said, adding the material wicks moisture away from the wearer‘s skin and is antimicrobial.

“We also redesigned the pouch. A brief will push your package up into you. A boxer short will push it back between your legs.”

“We redesigned the whole apex point to allow your genitals to rest most naturally in front.

“It‘s a combination of all those things working together that has changed the game on underwear.”

And Stockwell's helping out with marketing issues?

How about: the official gaunch of the Canadian Government? Maybe he can even get the PM on board.

Stephen Harper: "I have felt so much more relaxed and conciliatory since I donned my new gaunch."

Get your own pair here (with picture and video gallery). They kind of resemble a more aerodynamic version of an Elizabethan cod-piece, so if you need a little help up front...

Comets Over Canada...Or Not?

I have written previously about Allen West's theory re a comet or other extraterrestrial object exploding over Canada 13,000 years ago and bringing an end to the Clovis Culture, triggering the Younger Dryas, and causing the extinction of the mammoth.
Well, science marches on. A new paper (Paleoindian demography and the extraterrestrial impact hypothesis) has appeared testing the first of these three conclusions:

The impact is also claimed to have caused major cultural changes and population decline among the Paleoindians. Here, we report a study in which ≈1,500 radiocarbon dates from archaeological sites in Canada and the United States were used to test the hypothesis that the ET resulted in population decline among the Paleoindians.


The results of the analyses were not consistent with the predictions of extraterrestrial impact hypothesis. No evidence of a population decline among the Paleoindians at 12,900 ± 100 calBP was found. Thus, minimally, the study suggests the extraterrestrial impact hypothesis should be amended.

Ah well. Pity. I am partial to any theories that involve stuff exploding in the sky.

And I know nobody reads these sciency-type posts. I still enjoy doing them, especially when writing about politics starts to make me feel unclean.

H/t Afarensis.

More WBTA Madness!

The Western Business and Taxpayers Association's emerging Executive Council is proving to be a colourful bunch...especially if that color is white!

B.C. Chair Ernie Slump, for example, has gone Craig Chandler one step further. Whereas Craig merely wants Liberals to doff their voting habits at the Alberta border and embrace Conservatism, Ernie would have us all dead!

Meanwhile, before Rural Membership Chair Glen Dundas got his current gig with the WBTA, he served as cheerleader for Doug Christie's Western Block Party. That's Doug Christie, defender of Ernst Zündel, Wolfgang Droege of the Heritage Front, and Paul Fromm.

Up the revolution, fellas! Right up!

h/t noonespecial.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

And A Trucker Shall Set Them Free

Contra my post from earlier this morning, it looks as through The WBTA is rolling out some of the people on its Executive Council today.

A quick search tells me that B.C. chair Ernie Slump publishes Truckspeaker Magazine: The Voice of The Western Trucker, and was particularly incensed Western Separatist-wise at the appointment of Michaëlle Jean .

Jane Morgan tells me in the comments that:

[Glen] Dundas used to be with the SPA [Separation Party of Alberta]; then he went onto the Republic of Alberta, which seems to have morphed into the Republic of Western Canada.

So, the same old same old separatist crew?

Other names on the list at this moment include Dan Doherty and Sheldon Johnston, who I know nothing about.

Update: Mr. Crutcher tells me that the WTBA will encompass Manitoba.

BCLSB Exclusive: Delays At The WTBA

David Crutcher, Executive Director of the Western Business and Taxpayers Association (WBTA) has been in touch with me via email. I won't reproduce the exact contents, but I am assuming Mr. Crutcher is okay with the gist of his email becoming public. So here goes:

1) Due to website issues, the WTBA Executive Council will not be announced on until late Wednesday (Dec. 17). At that point, at least five of the positions, including Policy Chair, will have been filled.

2) The founding convention has been pushed back until April.

Mr. Crutcher claims almost 200 Members at this point and several $1,000s in funding. He also has invited sceptics like myself to debate the movement in a "serious manner". Once their white paper appears, I shall be happy to do so.

Until that time, there are a few scraps of interesting information in their "six point plan":

1) Create separatist network that will strengthen the businesses of separatists and help them prosper so they can in turn donate to groups like the Separation Party of Alberta and / or any other party that may come along in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.


3) We will fund any and all who share our vision of a new nation.


6)Provide training in Campaign Management, Candidate Development, Fundraising, Media Training and more for those that want to organize for elected office or to promote the separation agenda across Western Canada or in their provinces specifically.

So: not a political party, but a network that would fund political parties. And note once again that Manitoba seems to be absent from their plans.

How Can We Compete When We Are Old?

Now, I wonder if the aged auto plant work force, decimated and demographically warped by seniority-based layoffs, might be part of the problem?

Federal government moves to bail-out the auto industry are correct for moral, if not economic reasons, but Bourrie raises a helluva a good point. And in any case a bail-out can at best only make the ride to the bottom a little bit easier for these people.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Stephen Taylor On Possible Senate Appointments

Because he's probably got as much insight as anyone (and of course we shall soon see):

Nancy Greene
Chief Clarence Louie
James Lee

And why not?

Has Western Separatist Leader Distanced Himself From Only Supporter?

I've written about the Western Business and Taxpayers Association (WBTA) several times here and here. This Western Separatist group consists of, at the moment, one confirmed member: old time Reform Party Stalwart David Crutcher.

Here's a screen cap of the WBTA's Executive Council from a couple of days ago:
Now, Buckets has also been keeping tabs these guys, and recently spied out another possible WTBA Member: Erik Gregson, another long time Reformer and associate of both Crutcher and Craig Chandler. Erik has been tasked with chairing WBTA's January convention and, since his email is, Buckets logically concluded that Mr. Gregson was slated for the position of "Policy Chair" on the WTBA Executive Council (note arrow above).

But wait! At the latest version of the WTBA EC page ,the position of policy chair has been entirely eliminated!!!

So are Crutcher and Gregson already on the outs? Has the nascent WBTA already begun to fragment along ideological lines--like who gets to be Supreme Commander on Tuesdays--or did they merely quarrel over who sits at the head of the official WTBA coffee table?

I'll be following this one closely in the days and weeks ahead.

As an aside, if you've ever wondered why these separatist groups tend to leave Manitoba out of their definition of The West, here is Mr. Crutcher on the topic:

Which division is the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in?


And these guys wanted a separate Alberta to have its own fleet of nuclear submarines.

Ah But You See Now Real Money Is Involved

To their credit, the Harper government has largely (wholly?) ignored calls from its political base to repeal Section 13 of the CHRA. However, it didn't take long for them to indicate their displeasure with the BCHRT's decision re Construction and Specialized Workers' Union Local 1611 obo Foreign Workers v. SELI Canada, in which foreign workers were judged to have been

...given inferior accommodation, denied any choice about what to eat . . . [and] worked side by side with Europeans who were paid substantially more than they were for performing substantially the same work.

On the Dec 14th, Jason Kenney said:

“I am very concerned by the recent decision of the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal regarding wages for temporary foreign workers, particularly in light of the fact that these workers were being compensated at the same level as Canadian workers, and had voted to decertify the union that filed the complaint."

A rather complex ruling, and I admit to having only skimmed the thing so far, but its clear that even this brief statement contains a number of distortions. For one thing, the complaint was in regards to the wages of a number of South American workers vs. their European counterparts (Seli being an Italian company that digs tunnels all over the planet), not vs. home-grown Vancouver workers.

For another, while it is true that a number of the complainants voted to no longer be represented by their union, this vote, arranged by the company, was itself judged to be a retaliatory act against the complainants:

The crux of the Union’s retaliation complaint is a petition which the Employer presented to members of the Complainant Group for signature. It was written in Spanish. Translated, it says: “I no longer wish the Union to represent me before the Human Rights Tribunal.” (para. 21)

The result: $10,000 for each employee, an appeal by Seli Canada, and a bit of finger-wagging by the federal government.

H/t Shotgun Blog.

"Pulpit And Politics" For Best Religious Blog

Ex-NDP MP Dennis Gruending has been writing "Pulpit and Politics" for just over a year now. He is now up for a 2008 Canadian Blog Award in the category of Best Religious-Philosophy blog, and has indeed reached the final round. The title pretty much says it all: Mr. Gruending examines the intersection of Canadian politics and both right and left wing political movements. Level-headed, scholarly, but always a good read. When the final round opens, he's got my vote.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Your Daily Nazi: Pro-Nazi Bias At The Calgary Herald?

Harry Abrams weighs in on the Bill White Case:

Dear Editor,

Re: Death threats cannot be protected speech, December 14,

Whereas I appreciate the point that the commenter wishes to make, namely that speech calling for violence is abusive; this article abrogates the basic ethics of journalism by quoting a defendant's assertion given at a human rights hearingthat has never been settled.

Here is the phrase: "...the defence suggested Warman--a former CHRC employee--was among those who would post provocative messages to the site using fake identities, in the hope of entrapping other site users..."

Even though described as the "defendant's suggestion at hearing" this kind of quote causes the[...] newspaper to side in an as yet unsettled legal dispute. I certainly hope that the newspaper doesn't interfere with or make pronouncements on other legal proceedings in the same way.

I think Harry might have got the newspaper in question wrong, which is why the quick edit above. But otherwise he catches what is at the minimum some exceedingly shoddy reporting out guessed it...CanWest.

Just for clarity, here's an expanded version of the quote he mentions:

During a CHRC tribunal considering the activities of Canadian website operator Marc Lemire, the defence suggested Warman--a former CHRC employee-- was among those who would post provocative messages to the site using fake identities, in the hope of entrapping other site users.

Memorializing Them In Shitty Prose

These three soldiers, killed by an improvised explosive device, are sadly part of the 103 Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

From the National Post. Say no more.

No, Virginia...

I first wrote this in December, 2006, and have decided to repost it every year until it becomes as famous as the editorial on which it is based.

No Virginia, Its All Bullshit!
In December of 1897, sad little Virgnia O'Hanlon wrote to The New York Sun as follows:

Dear Editor: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in The Sun, it's so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

To which chief editor Francis P. Church replied with a now very famous editorial called, "Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus". In the spirit of the season, I will reproduce that editorial here, with some of my own comments to little Miss O'Hanlon interspersed:

Virginia, your little friends are wrong.

They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Virginia, your letter wound-up on the desk of a gouty old fart desperately nostalgic for The Good Old Days which, believe me, existed only in his mind. You think kids back in 1897 were bad? You should see 'em now! A more useless gang of pimple face punks has never afflicted the Earth's surface! They've got green hair, rings through their noses, and they shave their chests and carry 9 mms and smoke crystal meth! Frankly, you and Mr. Church had it easy! He should quit bitching.

Also, Mr. Church works for The Sun, so he's what your father would probably have called a soak, and what in my day we call a lush bucket. This piece of drivel probably got hacked out between bottles of cheap whiskey. Rot-gut liquor has been the source of more bad rhetoric than War and Love combined.

And furthermore, what is this "intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth" supposed to be? Looks like your dear editor was using his newspaper to proselytize some version of the Christian Religion at you. These days things such a thing wouldn't fly. A word to the Feds and we could have God-Boy's ass fired so hard out the door that he wouldn't land until next Xmas.

Anyway, Mr. Church keeps on editorializing:

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

What are these... THREATS? If Santa isn't real, Poetry will disappear? The Lights will go out? Holy shit, in my day if some old guy started feeding a little girl like you such a dose of baloney, they'd slap a restraining order on him!

And what's this about there being no Virginias if kids don't believe in Santa? There wouldn't be a North or South Virginia in the first place if Whitey assholes like Mr. Church hadn't come ashore and slaughtered the peaceful Kis'muk'ti-tuk Indians who were already living there! And what's Santa Claus got to do with any of that? Is Mr. Church insinuating that Santa was leading the charge against the Indian villages in his sleigh, innocent Abo kids impaled on the steel-edged antlers of his robotic rain-deer?

This guy kills me! But he's just warming up:

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies.... The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

Kid, you've hooked a serious nutter. Believe me, you can take full pleasure in your lawn without worrying about inadvertently trampling dancing fairies. And if by any chance you do manage to squash one, I hear they're damn good eating.

But seriously, there are many unseen and unseeable things in the world, like Debt and Remorse and Poison Gases and cancer-causing Gamma Radiation from The Sun. However, Fairies ARE NOT AMONG THEM!

If this Church fellow has any knowledge of Fairies, its because there's one fluttering in and out of that whiskey bottle he's been sucking on. Yeah, Virginia, these days we've got a word for his kind of fairies: delirious tremblins, we call 'em.

But wait...There's More!

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart.

Kid, don't tear apart any baby rattles. That would be cruel. Besides, there's just this little plastic bean thing that bounces around inside making the sound. It's no big mystery. Leave your little brother's toys alone. He'll cry.

Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond.

Magic mushrooms do the same trick. They can also convince you that jam bands like Phish or the Grateful Dead don't suck. But that wears off.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Okay, little sister, here's how Xmas really works. Capitalist society has trained your parents to drool like Pavlov's dog at the sight of a fat guy in a red suit. So, believe The Hype or not, you're going to get piles of gifts at exactly the same time every year. Your folks can't help it, and you couldn't stop them if you wanted to.

And the gift getting part is all that should really matter, for deep down Xmas a time of getting, getting all you can when the getting's good. When you become older and start buying gifts of your own, you'll realize the truth of what I'm saying. Then you'll understand that if the total amount of money you spend on gifts is less than the total amount of the gifts you get, you've WON Xmas!

...and that is a terrific feeling. And Santa's got nothing to do with it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

No Effect

From James Annan, climate scientist:

Do solar/heliospheric changes affect the earth's climate?

That was the title of the keynote talk at a workshop held here last week. To save you the trouble of reading any further, I should just say now that the answer provided was "no, at least not to any significant extent since the middle of last century".

I may play around later with Inhofe's updated (650 scientists!) list of deniers. But one of the new names on the list is Oliver "Iron Sun" Manuel, who I have previously written about here.

Miracle: Image Of Virgin Mary Appears On Magazine Cover!

Does this picture make you feel all Xmas-y? It makes me feel all Xmas-y?

Iggy Makes Good

...or at least makes for good polling results:

OTTAWA–Newly appointed Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is in a virtual tie with Prime Minister Stephen Harper as the person Canadians think would be the best to lead the country, a new poll exclusive to the Star reveals.

Frankly, I've never put much money on the leadership numbers. Lets cut straight to the chase:

The survey also shows the Liberals rise to 31 per cent in voting intentions – an increase of nine percentage points since earlier this month, and the Conservatives drop five percentage points to 37 per cent in the same period.

Hmm. About where it always is. But at least the Tories are out of Majority territory. The post-Coalition upward blip was just that. An adrenalin fuelled "rally round the flag" effect. Hopefully, this new result will keep Harper and Co. from getting too uppity in their Jan. budget.

Here is the most interesting result, however:

The NDP was the choice of 15 per cent of respondents – down three percentage points...

Looks like all that coalition talk really turned their supporters off.

So, not a bad start. Mind you, here's an IPSOS poll to keep you humble.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Your Daily Nazi: Warman And Farber Fight 'Em, While Speechys Ponder Their Very Existence

American Neo-Nazi Bill White is being charged with making death threats, based on the testimony of Canuck Nazi hunters Bernie Farber and Richard Warman. Good news, made weird by the strange role Mr. White has played in the on-going Canadian Speechy Wars.

You see, back in April free speech warrior Ezra Levant publicly questioned Mr. White's very existence, instead theorizing that he might be a CHRC sock-puppet:

I, too, would have believed that the CHRC's Ian Fine received the bigoted e-mails he describes, and I even would have believed that Richard Warman was threatened by a man in the U.S. named Bill White.


But after last month's day-long hearing, where we learned that the CHRC regularly confects such bigoted comments themselves and goes to great (and sometimes illegal) lengths to hide their tracks, I just can't take any claims from the CHRC or Warman seriously that rely on Internet comments, the provenance of which cannot be independently verified.

And the "Bill White" Internet site -- well, let's just say that Mr. White, who has never been seen in body, only online, has come in handy on quite a few occasions for the CHRC and Warman, such as when Warman and the Canadian Jewish Congress tried to get the Canadian government to permit them to block foreign websites from Canadian Internet users.


It may well be that the e-mails to Fine were sent by someone other than his own staff. And it may well be that there is somebody named Bill White who is not just another sock puppet for Warman, Dean Steacy and others. It could be. And, with any other group of people, that would be the normal thing to assume. But we're long past the point where the CHRC can be regarded as normal, and where their statements -- even under oath -- can be believed without independent verification.

The madness continued unabated--Nay! was cranked to 11 on the crazy-scale--in Ezra's comments section. For example, Connie Fournier from FreeDominion showed up:

The thing about Bill White is that even the people who proudly call themselves 'Nazis' or 'white nationalists' seem to think he is about as genuine as Grant Bristow.

Ezra is 100% correct when he says we can't believe anything our opponents say anymore.

Then suspected Lemire sock-puppet Fourhorses made an appearance! Eventually, the whole gang arrived!

Nor was the mood of cheerful paranoia spoiled when Mr. White himself crashed the party:

I know, Jew Levant, that when you look upon a God, you see only the radiant light of a soul you know you can never possess.

However, I assure you, I am not merely an ethereal apparition of the God of the Light and Order, opposed eternally to your race of demons, but I have material form as well.

A brief search of Google will yield plenty of photographs and news accounts of my actual presence among men.

(As an aside, give Mr. White credit: this guy knows how to hate. Shaidle, MacMillan and their crew-- they're nothing but wannabes next to him)

No, they didn't let Bill White get them down at Ezra's place, because they figured it couldn't be a real Neo-Nazi writing this stuff, it had to be...wait for it...Richard Warman pretending to be a Neo-Nazi so as to...somehow...infiltrate...well, at this point things get a bit obscure.

In any case, that's how bent this debate has become, when the Speechy movement goes beyond arguing that no limitations on expression are justified in stopping the spread of Neo-Nazis, to denying that they have corporeal being.

News Release To Nowhere

Ezra's latest Canada News Wire effort gets as much coverage as his previous. Which is to say: doodley squat.

Another $500 down the tubes. So keep those pay-pal donations coming!

Who Said That?

A senate chair should be occupied by someone with a democratic mandate, and Canadians should be able to mark their ballot for their Senator, as well as for their MP. We need a ballot with senators' names, and seats with senators that have been elected. Under a Conservative government, Canadians will choose who sits in this chair. In the 21st century, those who want to sit in the parliament of a democratic state should have a mandate from the people.The Prime Minister currently holds a virtually free hand in the selection of Senators. As Prime Minister I will use that power to establish a federal process for electing senators.

Probably the same guy who said this:

Lets be clear: Harper has the perfect right to stuff the Senate with cronies. Its the Canadian way. One might even argue that the integrity of the institution demands these appointments be made.

However, they are most accurately viewed as signalling the inevitable process by which a political party or movement sheds its Idealism in the face of hard reality. Where once the CPoC could argue that there was a clear moral distinction between them and the Liberals, now they can merely argue that there is a barely perceptible moral distinction between them and the Liberals. In three months, they will be arguing that their latest scandal isn't as bad as Adscam was. In six months...well, everybody count the spoons on Parliament Hill.

(PS. I'm hoping Harper does what so many people have tried to do for so many years-- get Puffy off the air-waves. For one thing, that would literalize the "stuffing" metaphor. Would they be forced to give him two Senate seats, a la the major airlines?)
H/t Ted.