Wednesday, March 31, 2010
The speeches were part of the two-hour-long Senate inquiry, a kind of procedure unique to the upper chamber to allow senators to raise important issues. Usually, aside from drawing attention to a given subject, Senate inquiries have little effect.
And remember, underneath it all the University of Ottawa thing was all about Coulter's Coulter camp's inability to successfully rent a room.
Whilst acknowledging concerns about FOIA request support, we also note the conclusion that the Information Commissioner’s Office made a statement to the press which led to much adverse comment, but could not be substantiated.
The full report can be found here. Apparently, Labour MP Graham Stringer, whose questioning during the actual committee hearing was probably the most acerbic, voted against accepting the report. His concerns are outlined at CA.
Lots of whining in the Deniosphere. Their tears uplift me.
And lots of coverage from the U.K. and other media. I may add links or a bit more analysis to this post when I get time.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
MPs today strongly criticised the University of East Anglia for not tackling a "culture of withholding information" among the climate change scientists whose private emails caused a furore after being leaked online in November.
But the committee did not condemn the actions of Prof Phil Jones, the head of UEA's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) because it said he should have been better supported by the university in dealing with requests for data under the Freedom of Information Act. It added that the scientific reputation of Jones and the CRU was untarnished.
The committee's report entitled The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, said the focus on Jones and CRU in the row about the hacked emails had been "largely misplaced" and that, "on accusations relating to freedom of information, we consider that much of the responsibility should lie with UEA, not CRU". In evidence to the enquiry, Jones admitted that he had sent some "awful emails".
"He probably wishes that emails were never invented," said Willis at a press conference. "But apart from that we do believe that Prof Jones has in many ways been scapegoated as a result of what really was a frustration on his part that people were asking for information purely to undermine his research."
Now, Denialists will almost certainly say that science is all about "undermining research", and bring out tired nostrums from Karl Popper. But it isn't. That's sometimes a by-product, but in science it is never the point. For Deniers like McIntyre it is the one and only point.
The MPs also take a well-deserved shot at the ICO (Information Commissioner's Office):
The MPs expressed "regret" that the UK's deputy information commissioner had made a statement saying, in their words, that "at least some of the requested information should have been disclosed" without his office having conducted a formal investigation. However, they agreed that there was a prima facie case for the university to answer and that the Information Commissioner's Office should conduct an investigation.
Oh I hope so! Because, as I have written previously, they will likely wind up investigating themselves.
An interesting comment from doctor Myles Allen:
Professor Myles Allen, a leading climate scientist at Oxford University, said that free exchange of data with fellow scientists was a fundamental requirement of academic research. But he added: "There was an assumption within the climate science community that we could use our professional judgment to distinguish between professional scientists and activists or members of the public."
"The big implication in all this for science is that the [FOI Act] is taking away our liberty to use our own judgment to decide who we spend time responding to. And that has a cost," he said.
...and so we circle back around to the notion of being supported by your institution. That support is going to have to be financial. Hopefully, the UK government will be kicking in a few lbs.
Overall judgement: BOOYAH!!! Its okay to call them deniers again!
London, Mar 29 (PTI) Rajendra Pachauri, the embattled head of the UN's climate change panel who was under scrutiny for receiving alleged payments from private companies, has been cleared of the allegations by an independently conducted review, a media report has said.
Professional services company KPMG examined personal finances of Pachauri, chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, following allegations that he received money for advising several private sector companies, including Toyota and Credit Suisse.
I suspect Pielke Jr. is working on his most fulsome apology even now.
PS. Pachauri's climate science friends apparently call him "patchy".
Did Guy Earle get upset because you kissed your friend, she was asked. She said she thought this was not right though she didn't know what Earle was thinking. Her girlfriend had simply kissed her on her cheek because she was glad to see her out as this was not a common occurrence. They were not trying to make a scene (as previously reported by Earle).
She said she thought Earle thought they were causing a disturbance when they were talking to two waitresses about their patio bill.
They had spent the time listening to another comedy act, a short set, and talking to comedians. [Lorna Pardy] went to the bathroom to gather herself, and on the way back Earle at the bar physically assaulted her. (I assume this was a reference to Earle snatching her glasses and smashing them.) Her party were in shock and stayed because they couldn't get up from the table. They left around 11.30.
I don't know. It seems a bit of a stretch to argue that this behavior would have been a legitimate part of Guy Earle's "comedy" act.
On a somewhat related note: in December Stephen Boisson won the court challenge of his
conviction by the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal for hateful messaging directed at gays. Now, Darren Lund, the University of Calgary professor who brought the original HRC complaint, is appealing that decision. Not much in the way of detail yet, but if you scroll down through the FreeD comments you will see that Mr. Boisson has confirmed.
Monday, March 29, 2010
By the way, the blogger here, R.G. Harvie, is a wheel in the Lethbridge East (provincial?) PC Association. He is, more or less, trustworthy.
PS. Its also being reported via Rogers radio in Alberta.
With respect to the thorny issue of abortion, Mr. Harper should embrace the standard medical position championed by the World Health Organization, the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, and indeed previous Liberal and Conservative governments. This position is to support women’s access to safe abortions in those countries where it is legal. Many members of the Conservative government may have their own personal opposition to abortion, and this must be respected. However, they do not have the right to force their views on others when it runs counter to the prevailing scientific consensus. “Not opening the abortion debate” means respecting the status quo, which has been our nation’s position for many years. If the government claims to be pro-life, certainly they would want to reduce the current toll of 63,000 women a year who perish as a complication of a botched abortion and the hundreds of thousands of children who die as a consequence of their mother’s passing. Furthermore, how can our government actively deprive women from the poorest countries in the world of the same rights and access to medical procedures that women have in Canada?
In this next bit, Martin describes Harper's "out" over the abortion issue:
Mr. Harper can square his opposition to abortion while implementing an effective plan to reduce maternal and childhood mortality by proposing that each G8 country take the lead in one of the inputs required to address this tragic situation. For example, Canada could be the lead nation on training healthcare workers and micronutrients, another country could focus on providing medications, another on access to family planning and safe abortions, etc. In this way, a comprehensive plan that focuses on enabling the world’s poorest to access basic primary care services can be implemented, with the G8 countries dividing responsibilities and target resources.
This was the same means by which the 2nd Bush administration finessed the problem: who funds what would be re-shuffled so that Canada would not be paying for overseas abortions--another country willing to cut the cheques would do that. On the other hand, no policy change necessitated by any defunding would be required, because the overall funding levels would remain as they were.
I wouldn't be surprised if this is not the route eventually taken.
Lets see how it plays on Lifesite.
Moreover, Cousineau alleges that the comments were not made during Earle’s official artistic performance.
"This isn’t the case of a comedian standing on stage and saying ‘two lesbians walk into a bar.’ It’s the case of individuals in the audience being targeted and being subjected to slurs about their sex and sexual orientation," she said.
An important thing to note here is that, Zesty's (the Vancouver restaurant where this all took place) was only partly given over to comedy club business on the evening in question, and one of Pardy's supporters, at least, has indicated that the two lesbians were not there for the comedic performances:
No, the ladies did NOT go to Zesty's to see the show. But when the patio closed, they were taken to the table by the stage by the waitresses.
By the way, Guy Earle has a blog/website devoted to his adventures, which was dead for many months and has become active again in the runup to his hearing. For example:
For almost three years, I have been defending myself to attacks from would be heroes blowing intolerance through their misguided horns. I AM NOT A HOMOPHOBE. I don't give a flying shit what you do in your bedroom and for that matter, it's none of my business... so why do you have to ram it down everybody elses throats?
Admittedly, that quote is a bit of a cherry pick on my part.
The distinction above is important to note, because as I've said several times, some will want to portray this as a "free speech" case and it really isn't; the fact that words were used to discriminate is incidental in this case. And were anyone to repeal the relevant section of the B.C. code (section 8), it would leave the provincial analogue to section 13 of the federal code (which is called section 7) in place. Some people with broader anti-HRC agendas may want to see the distinction elided.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
More on this case as it plays out, hopefully.
Margaret Wente writes:
Many people suspect that Ms. Coulter was getting her tactical advice from Ezra Levant, the loud-mouthed scourge of left-leaning academics and human-rights commissions. Mr. Levant, in his characteristic style, referred to the protesting students as “brownshirts.” Although he is widely suspected of leaking the Houle letter to the National Post, where it wound up on the front page, this is not the case. The letter was leaked by Doug Pepper, the publisher of McClelland and Stewart. He is an old friend and editor of the stringy agitator. His brother-in-law is the Post's editor.
Now we know. Coulter's editor leaked the Houle letter--presumably to stir up interest in the event, and what transpired in the face of this increased interest? Shiva (not her real name)--one of Coulter's organizers--gives some information which Free Dominion which, while obviously biased, nevertheless helps fill in a few of the blanks:
1) For one thing, she admits that the U-of-O protesters were non-violent. Although I doubt her further assertion that the building was "surrounded" by protesters. But by all means, read her whole statement can be read through the links.
2) In a later post, Shiva expands in detail on what happens in the lead-up to the U-of-O Coulter non-appearance:
Second event in Ottawa, Room capacity was only 475 so only approx 440 people were registered by the organizers. We were told on Monday afternoon at approx. 5:00 that if we did not hire (and pay for) 4 more security guards to add to the number we had already arranged for, that the event would be cancelled. Even though it felt like bullying, we readily agreed since they said they had reason to believe the event could turn violent and they wanted to ensure that we had a safe event for attendees. I have the proof in the form of a telephone message left for me and the subsequent email I received with the revised contract adding the additional security personnel that we were TOLD we must have or risk having our event canceled. At approx. 3:00 in the afternoon on the day of the event, I called the campus security contact and found a very concerned and confused man who said that he had been told the event was open to the public was first come, first serve, and who also told me that protestors had already begun to assemble themselves outside the venue. I set him straight regarding this event being first come, first serve and asked him why he would take the word of people who had not been involved in organizing the event? I made it clear that we had only registered a certain number of people and that they were the only ones who should be showing up. I've already addressed the other issues with how and when things became ugly but I'll add one other fact: The media in Ottawa were brutal. They were like a pack of jackals who refused to move out of the way as we tried to process registered people. We, politely at first, asked them to move out of the way instead of crowding the already congested registration area, so that we could get the registered people in and then determine if there was enough room to let the media in. They absolutely refused to get out of the way and instead kept pressing in and trying to find ways to sneak into the venue. They also refused to abide by the conditions we set, unlike the media in London who were cooperative in that respect. Am I surprised to find that most of the lies about the event are coming from the media who were present at the Ottawa event? When I put it to a few of them that they were contributing to an unsafe situation for the people in that room, a few of them had the nerve to say it was due to poor organization. I reminded them that we had, using the same methodology, managed to register double the number of people in London the night before without incident, but apparently we can't let logic get in the way of a good spin. There was NO conversation with me or anyone else at IFPS, about moving to a larger venue. That is an absolute lie because if they had said anything like that I would have told them to stuff it and would have instead suggested that the campus security we PAID for, do their bloody jobs and get rid of the people who had no business being there.
So, a couple of things here. The University had a full day previous to the event expressed concern at the size of the venue secured by its organizers. Shiva's response on Tuesday to the security guards worries re people already showing up outside the building is painfully naive given the fact that the Coulter camp has already leaked Houle's letter. How could they expect only those people who had pre-registered to show up, especially when they had done so much to attempt to draw wider attention to the event? We also know that many of the over-flow crowd consisted of people who had indeed registered, and who had not registered but were Coulter fans, as well as critics ad protesters. Just how campus security was supposed to separate these folks out and physically remove the rest is not explained. One assumes clubbing would be involved.
So, in the end, Coulter's organizers bungled the registration process in Ottawa, panicked, and then had Ezra go out and blame Canada for their screw-up. Too many of Canada's pundit class have, unfortunately followed this line of misinformation, probably because most of them can hack out a "Free Speech Under Attack" column in their sleep. Its presumably a little more difficult to crank out 500 words on the subject of how Conservative activists attempted to rent a room in Ottawa and failed miserably.
Hopefully, this will be my last post on Ms. Coulter.
...it was from these guys. Of course, Kinsella will hate it. Too many chords. As a punker, more than two freak him out. And a guitar solo! Horrors!
Saturday, March 27, 2010
20 people on social assistance, supporters and members of OCAP confronted Dwight Duncan on live television on Thursday evening only hours after the Provincial budget became public. OCAP went face to face with Duncan,yelling 'shame on you' and 'raise the rates now!' in outrage of a 2010 budget that is an attack on poor people.
Duncan, as Finance Minister for McGuinty's Liberals announced the government will cut the special diet over the next few months. 20% of those on social assistance in Ontario had been getting this vital benefit and they will now be thrown into a crisis by a move that will rob them of the ability to buy food and pay the rent. This is the most devastating social cutback since Mike Harris slashed welfare rates in 1995.
A word of advice. Your protest has failed if nobody can figure out what you are protesting.
We plan to organise meetings where Anthony Watts will be the headline speaker in at least 14 cities - Most will be dinners. The cost of the tour we hope will be self funding from ticket sales, but in the event of a shortfall we would appreciated 50 supporters being prepared to nominate an amount they would guarantor (i.e $500 or $1,000 each etc)
The idea is that if we can have say close to $50,000 guarantied (or donated) then the tour will proceed. If we cannot get sufficient guarantors or donations in the next few weeks we will not proceed
One member has already nominated $1,000 as a guarantor. Thanks Roger.
Lord Monckton’s tour was a success with 7,000 people attending his meetings. The ticket sales and donations covered all the costs. If this occurs with Anthony Watts` tour we would not need to ask guarantors for a cent.
Sceptics my ass.
And here’s Bill 94: “The general practice holds that a member of the staff of the administration of government ... and a person to whom services are being rendered ... will have their faces uncovered during the rendering of services.”
Huh? General practice? Oh: “When an accommodation involves a change to this practice, it must be refused if motives related to security, communication or identification justify it.”
So there will be accommodations, then? You sure wouldn’t have known it from Wednesday’s news conference. “There are some fudges,” University of Montreal political science professor Daniel Weinstock says of Bill 94. “And that’s a strange fudge.”
“It certainly doesn’t jibe with the public relations message they’re putting out there,” he adds.
Right. And Iggy is just endorsing Charest's artful dodge, which is necessary to prevent the truly crazy people from legislating much worse. Sometimes the Conservative Menace must be beat down via stealth and deception. Shush, children, shush!
Friday, March 26, 2010
TORONTO, March 25, 2010 – B’nai Brith Canada has called for the removal of The Shepherd's Granddaughter, a vehemently anti-Israel book targeting students in grades seven and eight, from the recommended reading list of Ontario public school libraries. The one-sided work of fiction, which demonizes the Jewish State and was brought to B’nai Brith Canada’s attention by a concerned parent, is currently being recommended by teachers and librarians in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB).
I have no idea what this book is about. FWIW, here's the Quill & Quire profile. And here's a review from CM magazine. Whoopsie! I see the issue: the book "presents events from the Palestinian perspective."
BURN IT! BURN IT!
Mind you, BB is fine with Ann Coulter.
The Government of Canada has provided funding of $26,070 to Ontario Golf and $25,723 to Ontario Home Builder through the Support for Editorial Content component of the Canada Magazine Fund.
The Canadian Magazine Fund used to be PAP (Publications Assistance Program). It used to be in place to help fund publications like small circ literary magazines; now, not so much. Particularly galling here the fact that Ontario Home Builder is a publication of the Ontario Home Builder's Association, "...the the voice of the residential construction industry in Ontario." Believe me, these guys can cover the $25,723 that the feds are giving them.
PSAC sees the closures of the CHRC offices as part of a broader trend by the Harper government toward self-regulation - something that puts both public safety and human rights into question. By severely hampering the Canadian Human Rights Commission's ability to adequately deal with complaints throughout the process, the federal government is relying on employers to voluntarily meet employment equity obligations and address discrimination. But with no mechanisms for enforcement, the CHRC's mandate will be reduced to mere suggestions.
Note that these closures will have an effect on the ability to file any kind of HRC complaint, not just the relatively controversial hate-speech kind.
PS. Although Brian Lilley is flogging an alternative set of numbers that suggest the commision is expanding. The budget increase looks to be about the level of inflation.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
The U of O Campus Conservatives who organized the event did a very poor job. They were close to an hour behind schedule before they announced to the large crowd of then-agitated students that if we weren't registered, we weren't getting in. It was chaos when frustrated fans and critics of Coulter were then penned inside the building, the organizers were blocking entry into Marion Hall and the large crowd outside made it to difficult to leave.
It's sad that Coulter and Ezra Levant will go around trumpeting this as some free speech disaster when the truth is that this event was cancelled due to extremely poor planning by the organizers, some idiotic decisions by the SFUO and some prankster pulling a fire alarm.
The solution to the niqab "problem" is simply time. Those few hundred women who for one reason or another wear the thing will have daughters, and those daughters will naturally choose to dress provocatively, dye their hair green, and listen to crap music while chattering away brainlessly on their I-phones...just like their white counterparts.
Plus, I have trouble with the idea of "defending society" by essentially picking on a tiny sub-set of the women-folk from one of your minority groups. It smacks of cowardice, of finding an easy target. I mean, this is France: if we were talking a couple hundred men wearing masks the country would have already surrendered.
1) The cops/U-of-O shut down the event. Nope. It was Coulter's own gang of organizers that pulled the plug, contrary to what Coulter said late Tuesday.
2) The cops advised Ezra and his gang of volunteer fuck-ups from the University of Ottawa Campus Conservatives (who rented a room several orders of magnitude too small) to shut down the event. Bullshit! Or at least, that isn't the cops' story:
Ottawa police also issued statements about the Coulter affair Wednesday. Spokesman Alain Boucher said the police did not shut down the event, but said a different venue was needed to hold the crowd of around 1,500 people.
"We strongly suggested that this venue was not large enough to accommodate all the people that had attended," he said. "We had safety concerns with the sheer number of people that were there . . . with different views on issues."
And here's Boucher speaking to another media outlet:
Ottawa Police Services spokesman Const. Alain Boucher said officers had safety concerns because there were about 1,500 people in the lobby outside a venue with just 175 seats and shared those concerns with campus security, event organizers and Coulter's bodyguard but left the decision to them.
Note the police reasoning here: basically, the organizers hadn't rented a large enough room for the number of people that showed up. This speaks not to the efforts of the literally dozens of demonstraters who showed up and protested non-violently, but to the inability of the U-of-O Conservative Campus Club to rent a hall for a crazy lady and her maybe 1,000 fans/critics without having the whole event descend into chaos. Nobody can blame "The Left" for this. Maybe, if anything, the conservatives on the U-of-O campus need a little bit in the way of Special Ed.
3) The event was shut down by protesters. Again, bullshit! There were maybe 100 of these people, and the one report of anything resembling violence at the event is 3rd party. People say they heard a table got thrown over, for example, but nobody saw it, not even Deb Gyonpang who first reported it. On the other hand, there are a multititude of stories about the incompetence of the wevent organizers:
7:00: Doors still not open, people getting really antsy given poor logistics (more on this later)
It was a disaster in terms of just organization, which is probably one of the reasons why it was cancelled.
Finally, 4) Ann Coulter was subject to death threats prior to the event. Double bullshit! Triple! Here's the document Ezra sent CBC to make the case: in the twelve pages taken from an Ottawa-area Facebook page, there is one reference to hurling rotten tomatoes, one to tarring and feathering, and one suggestion that Coulter should be dipped in gravy and locked in a room with a wolverine high on angel-dust. Now, two things about this last: 1) it would have been extremely difficult to smuggle both a wolverine and the requisite amount of gravy into the U-of-O auditorium, and 2) if it was Coulter that was supposed to be high on angel dust, I doubt one wolverine would do the trick. In any case, if that's what Ezra and Ann were afraid of, they are bigger chicken-shits than I ever imagined.
PS. And I was a little wrong yesterday in noting that nobody important was planning to show up at the Coulter speech; she did manage to snag back-bencher Brent Rathgeber.
PPS. Here's a photo-stream from one of the kids that "infiltrated" the event. Terrence thinks they (the kids) are scary.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Prior to the cancellation, Hamamdjian said only a small number of students were tasked with verifying the names of the people who had signed up to attend Coulter's talk.
"It was a disaster in terms of just organization, which is probably one of the reasons why it was cancelled," Hamamdjian told CTV News Channel from Ottawa on Wednesday morning.
Police eventually showed up to the scene and blocked the door to the building, but Hamamdjian said she doubted whether the combination of protesters and disorganization actually constituted "a physical risk to Ann Coulter."
By the way, all reports of tables being "thrown aside" emanate from Deb Gyapong's twitter feed, as far as I can tell. She now says she was not actually witness to these events.
deBeauxOs notes in the comments that it's the Ottawa Campus Conservatives that organized this event, as confirmed by D. Akins' original post.
One of those helping to facilitate and organize this event is Ashley Scorpio, who is listed in the government's electronic directory, as a staffer working in the office of Conservative MP Gerald Keddy. (She has also worked for Ontario Conservative MP Patrick Brown and was once an administrative assistant in the Harper PMO.) Ms. Scorpio, it should be noted, did not use her Parliamentary contact info. Instead she invited those who wanted to tickets or information to contact her via a Hotmail address.
And, oh yeah, a fistful of nerdlingers from the U-of-O Conservative Campus Club. Which is to say that nobody of any stature was willing to appear in the same room as Ms. Coulter. As CC notes, she and her gang have become entirely irrelevant to political discourse in this country.
Indeed, the Levant/Coulter tour can be viewed as the after-life of Ezra's free speech/anti-HRC (human rights commision) crusade, as it shuffles from university to university not even knowing that its dead. Dead federally, dead in Alberta, and Hudak's not saying a word about it these days. Even Jason Kenney seems to have accepted his constraints (emphasis below is mine):
Kenney: Mr. Speaker, this government supports free speech within the Canadian law.
PS. Some interesting observations from SDA. That's the "mob" below:
Mobs seemed alot bigger when I was young, and I think "unruly" must have meant something a bit different.
Also, Coulter was playing to an audience of around 400. Not very big. And remember it was Coulter's organizers that called off the event, not the police or campus security.
Note: Here Coulter seems to be claiming it was the police that shut down the event.
PS. this story suggests it was Coulter's bodyguard made the call.
She later added, "Frankly, I'm not a big fan of the First Amendment."
In other news, while no half-decent ass shot has emerged, Flanders does have tape of the hypocrite Coulter drinking gay coffee from Satanbucks. No feminine manifestation of der collective spirit of der Volk is this Ms. Coulter lady!
You know, I remember a buddy of mine bought a van and had a couple of sword swinging chicks in metal bikinis painted on the side of it against a desert background. The point of owning the van and all the "artwork" was to pick up (real) women, but he was never satisfied...in fact more or less appalled...by the quality of woman that was willing to jump into the back of a van on spec.
If Ontario courts UFC tourists, I think we will wind up feeling the same way...ie. a bit unclean when we have to handle them.
PS. I've watched UFC and, yes, occasionally felt that wild monkey rush, though most times it's been like seeing two guys clutching and grabbing and generally acting like they needed to rent a room. Anyway, part of the UFC's charm has always been that you were watching it off a wonky satellite signal beamed from a dark shit-hole located somewhere in the old confederacy. Why mess with the mystyque?
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
3. (1) For all purposes of this Act, the prohibited grounds of discrimination are race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability and conviction for which a pardon has been granted.
Being a Conservative ain't one of them. Coulter's complaint would go straight into the waste basket.
Given the way she mangles her discussion of Canadian law, one can only assume it was Ezra that explained it to her.
PS. Am looking for an Ann Coulter ass-shot from her London performance. Please link in comments.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Sounds like they can't even give them away in our nation's capital. Incidentally, the non-student price is $10 which, if you want to listen to some blonde chick talk filthy, will buy you about 1/4 of an hour on a good phone line, which has certain advantages in that you can imagine the blonde chick being a little more...well...full-figured, let us say. The students of Carleton will almost certainly spend the hour in question watching free streaming videos on the intertubes. Good for them!
The fact of the matter is that if Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Defence Minister Peter MacKay or General Rick Hillier are guilty of war crimes, then so are the soldiers that carried out those orders.
Here we see the Tory strategy in a nutshell, which is to hide behind the troops: if the PM is guilty, soldier boy gets it. I'll leave aside Mr. Lilley's interpretation of article 33, other than to say that it has been challenged.
He goes on:
If the members of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition were so confident in their assertions that war crimes occurred, they would be joining Professor Michael Byers from UBC in asking the ICC to investigate Canada. They don’t for two reasons, firstly to do so would rob them of a weapon to beat the government over head with during question period, secondly, the Liberals are smart enough to realize that the Canadian public would not take kindly to our own politicians accusing our own soldiers of war crimes.
I agree with Mr. Lilley that the Liberals are indeed smart enough, which is why they are leaving this kind of accusation to Conservative partisans like Mr. Lilley and Mr. Levant. I would also note that, should any parliamentary inquiry into the detainee scandal be launched, it will be up to those Tory MPs involved in the investigation to make suggestions along the lines of "Hey! lets arrest some soldiers!" The Liberals certainly won't be.
Good luck with that, fellas.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
...the assertion of manmade climate change met a perfect storm.
First, several high academic priests of global warming were discredited. Leaked e-mails at East Anglia University in the United Kingdom revealed doctored evidence, personal vendettas and cover-ups among scientists.
More recently, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admitted it had relied on faulty information, leading it to make inflated claims on impending manmade warming disasters involving Himalayan glaciers.
But here's Mr. Hanson as his alter-ego, on the advisory board of Californians for Population Stabilization, a weird anti-immigrant fringe group...
For the latest, Dawg is always good.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Probably the most significant thing to happen to Skeptical Science over the last few weeks was the website got hacked!
And of course, folks like McIntyre remain silent as the mob they have spawned trashes the landscape.
Somehow we have to do a better job of communicating. The tricks being used by people supporting denial and business-as-usual are recognizably dirty, yet effective. We are continually burdened by sweeping FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests, which reduce our ability to do science and write it up (perhaps this is their main objective), a waste of tax-payer money. Our analyses are freely available on the GISS web site as is the computer program used to carry out the analysis and the data sets that go into the program.
The material that we supplied to some recent FOIA requests was promptly posted on a website, and within minutes after that posting someone found that one of the e-mails included information about how to access Makiko Sato's password-protected research directory on the GISS website (we had not noticed this due to the volume of material). Within 90 minutes, and before anyone else who saw this password information thought it worth reporting to GISS staff, most if not all of the material in Makiko's directory was purloined by someone using automated "web harvesting" software and re-posted elsewhere on the web. The primary material consisted of numerous drafts of webpage graphics and article figures made in recent years.
It seems that a primary objective of the FOIA requestors and the "harvesters" is discussions that they can snip and quote out of context.
What this portends, I have no idea, but its a slow-news Saturday and I got nothin' else.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Divas everywhere, in this government.
Six of the other seven G8 countries are all strongly committed to “reproductive health” (a euphemism for both abortion and contraception) as part of maternal health, so Harper has effectively capitulated on that and he will be under tremendous pressure from foreign leaders, NGOs and the opposition parties to include abortion.
If so, watch the inevitable clarification re abortion to take place on the down-low: it's not something, that is, that the Tory base will want to hear about.
DC's piece is most interesting, as it presents strong evidence that knowledge of the IOP's statement was conveyed in advance (almost a month in advance, in fact) to climate change denier and swivel-eyed lunatic Christopher Monckton:
Monckton was touring Australia – perhaps still is – and during that tour he made some allusions to Climate Scientists being about to face criminal charges, and also to peak academic bodies having some very interesting submissions to make to the UK inquiry.
From what I’ve seen, Monckton, Plimer, Carter, etc are in frequent enough contact with each other and the organisations that circulate fud as their strategy, that I’m fairly confident Monckton knew ahead of time and was basically boasting
As DC notes:
Monckton’s tour began in early February, well before the parliamentary submission deadline of February 12. And the IOP submission wasn’t released to the general public until the end of that month, along with the other received submissions.
So, a thoroughly planned out and well-executed exercise in fud creation. Very much like the infiltration of the APS, which Monckton also had a hand in.
"Given the backlog of bills, and other work, studies that we're doing on organized crime, I have a hard time quite frankly seeing us doing anything more on that at least in this year, and I expect an election sometime this year, so I think it probably is not going to go anyplace."
Liberal justice critic Dominic LeBlanc concurs:
"We're going to wait to see what the government wants to do," LeBlanc says. "My view was that there was a very legitimate basis for some human rights commission review with respect to Section 13. We've heard evidence about how we can perhaps increase some of the procedural protections, but you're certainly not going to see the Liberals leading a charge to re-open that at this point, and if the government decides to let it go, that certainly would be fine with us."
Worse news for the speechies, an OHRC/OHRT repeal seems to have dropped off the bottom of PCPO opposition leader Tim Hudak's list of priorities. One thing politicians are good at is counting votes: I imagine Hudak has realized that any movement led by a combination of Ezra Levant, Neo-Nazis, and journalists is a net vote loser.
Although Andrew Steele seems to think that the rise of the OLA as torchbearers of rural conservatism in Ontario will make it impossible for Hudak to ignore the issue for any length of time. Steele may be right, and I sure hope so.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Since your vitriolic attack not only hurts me but ludicrously tries to hurt others for reasons I am unaware of, it is my duty to respond. Amir Attaran is one of the most gifted and principled researchers I've ever met, which is why I wanted to help him stay at Harvard. As the then Director of Africa Fighting Malaria I allocated funds to Harvard for his work there, with no strings attached. AFM has never taken any funding from the tobacco or pharma industries and as such the funding for Attaran, which came from a private European foundation, was not either. I have responded to the allegations about me here. Any decent researcher would have found this article, making me wonder why no mention of my response was used in your article. The few proper journalists who’ve written about this topic have at least had the courtesy of contacting me directly for a response, but not you. I was probably foolish to briefly consult for Philip Morris in 1998, and definitely foolish for writing the letter you quote in the fall of that year – because of how it’s being used today. PM never responded to my letter and I never corresponded with the company again. I did not know at the time but the tobacco industry has largely been on the wrong side (your side) of the DDT issue (and would never have funded my proposal anyway). See [here] for AFM’s response to BAT’s opposition to DDT. DDT continues to save lives in the myriad countries it’s used, I have done nothing to be ashamed of, and I rest easy at night knowing I’ve fought on the right side of this issue!
fellow American Enterprise Institute,
And here again is that letter he mentions; and here's an even nicer one.
NDP Leader Jack Layton launched a blistering tirade against "King Stephen Harper" only to waffle when it came down to whether his party would actually support the ten-percenter ban behind the closed doors of the Board of Internal Economy meetings.
Anyway, here's the Membership List for the BIC.
Libby Davies seems to be the one to watch. Does the Chair get to vote, I wonder?
PS. I note that the PMO has issued Tory MP Bruce Stanton an official "mind change" since he voted no in the HOC. Some interesting maneuvers going on.
Weekday readership for The Globe and Mail rose 6.2 per cent to 406,500 in the GTA, the NADbank survey found. In comparison, the Toronto Sun's weekday readership plunged 21.5 per cent to 372,300 while the National Post fell 13.5 per cent to 167,800.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
In effect, teenagers as young as 14 convicted of violent offences could be sentenced as adults and their identities no longer shielded.
Conservative Senator Jacque Demers, January 28, 2010
"I will not send a boy of 14 or 16 years to be assaulted in prison."
A few things have happened since that piece written. For one thing, Attaran has denied receiving tobacco industry funding at the Carr Center (although not, clearly, from AFM). For another thing, I have been in touch with Adam Sarvana, whose work I quoted from extensively in the previous post, and he has expressed the opinion that Attaran is "principled" but was unfortunately taken in by Roger Bate's and the AFM's "Rachel Carson/Environmentalists have murdered millions of third-worlders" line.
So the working assumption must be that Attaran is unaware of the AFM, and Bate's, dubious pedigree. Nevertheless, the AFM is what it is: an tobacco industry front group. And it is certainly interesting that this letter from Attaran on the dangers of phasing out DDT use too quickly should wind up in the files of British American Tobacco.
Finally, this is the full-text of Roger Bate's letter to Philip Morris in which he outlines the aims and purpose of his anti-malaria "operation", which eventually became the AFM.
A minor issue, but a major irritant in the body politic. We'll see if the Tories ignore this motion. They've been employing 10%ers as a form of guerrilla marketing, as the more outrageous ones tend to get loudly denounced and their message winds up as part of the daily news cycle. But now they will not only be asking like assholes, they'll be ignoring the will of Parliament in order to send out the kind of literature that really annoys people. Let's see if this vote tilts the cost/benefit analysis against the miserable instruments.
Kudos to the Libs: a real, though small, victory.
About a 1/2 hour later the buzz starts to fade as Elizabeth Thompson phones up UofA and discovers that, yeah, the MBA has indeed been awarded. That leaves Helena's undergraduate degree in question. But then Ted Betts points out over in Jeff's comments that the University will make room for students without an undergraduate degree under certain circumstances, namely where the candidates
...have considerable professional experience.... Individuals who feel that this situation applies to them are encouraged to contact the admissions office to discuss their status."
Presumably the university would have considered her time as the proprietor of a bed and bath shop. Any idiot can be a cabinet minister in the Harper government, so that doesn't count.
And there you have it: LEAVE...HELENA...ALONE!!! at least on
Meanwhile here's the only picture of her that I could find on-line that shows even a bit of cleavage.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
OWEN SOUND, ONT.–A Progressive Conservative member of the Legislature says he thinks Toronto should become its own province.
He said rural Ontario is fighting a losing battle against "a Toronto mentality," adding that Toronto decision-makers ignore rural voices.
His big complaint--well, the coyote problem looms large, as does "red tape" for food producers.
Of course, unless the producers start selling to one another, it isn't immediately clear how separating from T.O. would solve the problem (or more specifically, separating Toronto off from the rest of Ontario--Rurontario would get the 905 ring). It isn't likely anyone here would want to lower their food safety standards to make it easier for a bunch of beef farmers to sell us downer cows, just because said farmers elect a different government. But if you look at this article on the same meeting of the Bruce County Federation of Agriculture, Murdoch's strategy seems to be clear: partition would allow Rurontario to blackmail Torontario:
Murdoch says Toronto would still rely on the rest of the province for many of its essentials, such as food, energy and raw materials.
"Where are they going to get their power? We've got a nuclear plant. We don't need Toronto," said Murdoch, who is annoyed that new wind energy proposals are in rural Ontario.
But I'm not sure that anyone in London, for example--which would apparently be the capital of the breakaway province--would want to eat rancid steak either, just because their fellow Rurontarions are looking to cut costs.
In any event, I am sooo hoping that Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak looks kindly on Mr. Murdoch's ideas. In fact, I hope he's willing to campaign on them.
Monday, March 15, 2010
In writing my previous post on the “Climategate” break-in to the University of East Anglia computer system , I remained unclear about who was actually responsible for the break-in theft of the emails, which were then selectively quoted to promote a bogus allegation of scientific fraud.
Looking over the evidence that is now available, I think there is enough to point to Steven McIntyre as the person, along with the actual hacker or leaker, who bears primary moral responsibility for the crime.
25 July 2009: The next day McIntyre announced that he had got a mass of CRU data, essentially all that sought in the harassment campaign, from “a mole”. Note that this may be true or may be misdirection to protect external hackers. In any case, it is clear that his harassment campaign was going hand in hand with attempts to gain unauthorised access to CRU computers, and did not stop when its supposed goal was realised.
Over the next few months, CRU started preparing a response to McIntyre which resulted in the creation of a file called FOIA.zip. Over the weekend beginning Friday 13 November, someone located and copied this file from a back-up server at the university’s Climatic Research Unit, and distributed it widely among anti-science blog sites, including McIntyre’s. It’s unclear whether the extraction of the file required sophisticated hacking, simple illegal entry to a poorly protected site, or McIntyre’s “mole”. What is clear, as this report notes is that going after FOIA.zip indicates that someone in McIntyre’s circle of supporters was responsible.
Having received the stolen emails, McIntyre played a prominent role in disseminating dishonest and misleading claims about their contents, focusing on the phrases “trick” and “hide the decline” which were used to suggest a conspiracy to commit scientific fraud. In fact, as the U Penn investigation found, these claims were baseless. “Trick” referred to a clever way of combining data, and the “decline” was not a decline in global temperatures but a well-known problematic feature of tree ring data.
Just to repeat: sure as shootin', if and when the police find the CRU hackers, it will be one or more of the bloggers hanging around Climate Audit.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Just speculating, but does this have anything to do with her getting caught tweeting about enjoying the gay coffee at Satanbucks just days after John Baird reaffirmed Tim's as der coffee of der volk? Maybe. The Tories have been on high-Diva alert ever since the Jaffir/Guergis thing imploded.
In his new book, the Ez will do for the tar-sands what he did for racists in Shakedown--ie. make 'em feel wanted in Alberta.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Also, been out looking at Netbooks. I'll be buying one in the next couple of days. Anyone have a recommendation (keep it under $400 though)?
Also also, any advice on getting Office on one of the things without paying? My current plan is to copy my old 2003 version onto a chip and then onto the Netbook.
Note: this guy says the trip was planned "semi-secretly".
While it is clear that the Uppal motion condemning Israeli Apartheid Week failed, as Marky Mark pointed out, the vote was unrecorded. Would it have been a voice vote? Nevertheless, the above suggests that support/dissent fell entirely along party-lines. I'm not sure how the CIC could know that.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Which makes me happy, for reasons I've given here.
Would this have been a voice vote where its impossible to who voted which way? Presumably it would have been non-whipped.
In its statement, the Institute says that the evidence submitted to parliament followed “the process we always use for agreeing documents of this kind", noting that it submits 40 to 50 evidence statements to parliamentary inquiries per year. "We asked the energy sub-group of our Science Board to prepare the evidence, based on its analysis of material that is in the public domain following the hacking of the CRU e-mails last year," says the IOP. "The draft was circulated to the Science Board, which is a formal committee of the Institute with delegated authority from its trustees to oversee its policy work, and approved. However, we are already reviewing our consultation process for preparing policy submissions, and the comments we have received on this submission reinforce the need to make sure our procedures are as robust as possible."
The Institute also says it "strongly rebuts" accusations of “being overly influenced by one ‘climate-change sceptic’ on the energy sub-group, and then of a lack of openness about the authorship of our evidence". It adds that "The individual in question had no significant influence on the preparation of the evidence. Responsibility for the evidence rests with our Science Board, whose members’ names are openly available on our website."
Now the weird thing is: I can't find the new "statement" quoted here on the main website, although its early and I may just be missing something. But it seems as though the IOP is trying to shuffle the whole controversy off the main-stage.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
The government’s ham-fisted actions against KAIROS and Rights and Democracy have sent an intended chill through Canada’s church and development communities. Question the policies of the Israeli government and you are called anti-Semitic. Question the policies of the Canadian government and you will be punished. These attacks have led others, including former Canadian diplomat Harry Stirling, to question why the kind of debate that occurs regularly within Israel about the country’s policies toward its neighbours is labelled as anti-Semitic when it occurs in Canada.
A common analysis is that in its policies and practices the Harper government is attempting to win the support of Jewish organizations and voters in this country. It may be, however, that an even more important reason for the government’s one-sided policy is its desire to appease its base among the Christian right – those who actually believe that a biblical prophecy of end times will be fulfilled by the Israeli hegemony in the Middle East.
Of course, Christian reconstructionists like the folks at NHOP believe that only those who have accepted Christ as their personal saviour will be saved in the Last Judgement. So, presumably, when the last trumpet sounds, the majority of Israelis are going to be screwed.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
We arrived in Tel Aviv at 6pm after a 12 hour direct flight & met up with our guide Uri and our Mossad controller, from there we drove straight to Jerusalem, checked in to the hotel and on to dinner where we met with Yossi Klein Halevi of the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies.
Later, when asked to say a few words, Kathy noted that:
[Sikhs are b]ackward foreigners [who] shit on hand that feeds them...Unable to invent their own iconic product due to too much time spent worshipping monkeys and cows, setting women on fire and obsessing over imperceptible differences in each other's skin colour..."
And when asked about South African Apartheid, she responded: Was it all bad?
Hubby Arnie noted wittily that "Our culture is better that their culture.", and Kate quietly contemplated the "Muslim Problem".
The CIC must be so proud.
Welcome crazy people from SDA! Update here!