Thursday, June 30, 2011

Your Daily Nazi: News For Jews!

1) The Dykes and Trans People for Palestine aren't the Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, but they do plan to march during Pride week, and they will 

... be using the term "Israeli Apartheid" in our signs, banners, and messaging.

But they're not the QuAIA, who Rob Ford and others have condemned.  And the phrase "Israeli Apartheid" hasn't yet been defined as hate speech by the city.  Oooh!  Clever dykes!  What will be the result?  Will Pride lose is funding? 

We already know that Meir Weinstein and the JDL (Jewish Defense League) are pissed, and plan to confront the dissident dykes.  That might be fun.  Meir knows martial arts, though I hear his hip is starting to go and he can't do that patented IDF spin and kick move he's famous for.  How many dykes can he take down before he is overwhelmed?

2) Speaking of Meir, remember when he invited leaders from the English Defense League to an on-line confab with JDL hardcores?  Well, the EDL has now officially gone the full Nazi, embracing the Protocols of Zion and whatnot!  And you brought 'em to Canada (if only virtually), Meir and the JDL!  Hanging out with Holocaust Deniers!  You must be so damn proud.

PS. I have no idea why the font on this one looks so weird.  But I'm too tired to fix it now.

Civil Liberties And Privacy Aside...

“Passage of these [lawful access] bills would mean a lot of additional expenditures for new equipment, training and administration for many of our members who do not necessarily have to financial power enjoyed by telecom incumbents..."

Progressives tend to find bad for bidness arguments unsexy, but you would think they would have somewhat more of an effect on the Harper gov. itself.  Sometimes I wonder if their current policy trajectory isn't the result of old Reform Party--"The Internet is Information Highway 666"--thinking.   Or maybe they figure that because its the ISP's passing on the cost, the gov. can dodge responsibility.  But eventually  you the "end luzer" will be paying  your Internet Service Provider more so that they can help the state spy on you.

Fox News North DeadPool!

After Theo Caldwell, who's next out the door at Sun TV?

Glen McGregor says that Lilley (By-Line) and The Ez (The Source)  aren't doing bad,
...but if you look at the numbers, everyone else is pretty seriously on the bubble.  Canada Live is the bodacious but no-talent Ms. Erickson; the Daily Brief is Akin; Adler is Adler.  The 2nd set of figures are evening repeats.

My bet is Adler will be taking that big booming voice of his back to Mushaboo within three months.  Anyone wants to venture an alternative hypothesis in the comments, feel free.  The prize for guessing right--should we ever meet (which I doubt) and I have cash at the time (but who knows?)--will be an ice-cream cone of whatever flavour you choose.  But only one scoop, and no sparkles, because I am not made of money.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Google's Gone Downhill?

So, I use Google, and in particular the Google Toolbar, at least 100 times a day, maybe up to 200 times.  I depend on its performance in my professional life, and if its offline then that's like stealing the Broad-axe from a Viking warrior, or cutting Samson's hair. And as of about two or three months ago its all turned to crap.  Google searches hang forever (5 minutes sometimes), and they make all other windows impossible to work in while they're hanging. 

I'm using 8.0 at home and at work. What's going on?  I'm tempted to start searching through yahoo.  Does webcrawler still exist?

Fox News North Death Spiral Continues Spiralling Towards Death

..but perhaps  a wee bit more slowly.

Looks like Theo Caldwell (who?) is out and Michael Coren is in at Sun TV.  Once thing about Michael Coren: while I can't stand his writing, he is a smooth and quite genial talk show host.  The only problem: other than the now exited Mr. Caldwell (who?), nobody in Sun TV's line-up constitutes anything like a new face, and so it will continue to be difficult for them to attract new viewers.  Mr. Coren's is a known quantity and his addition won't help that situation much.

One interesting side note: Coren was approached back in March by FNN and offered a position, which he refused, citing the fact that he could produce as well as host his CTS show.  This change of heart makes me wonder at the financial state of CTS.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fox News North In Dutch With CBSC

I've never played through the youtube clip of  that interview Sun TV's Krista Erickson did with interpretive dancer Margie Gillis, but I'd already been told that it got the Canadian arts community up in arms.  Apparently, more up in arms than I'd ever imagined.  From the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council:

This note is directed to those persons who:

1.may be contemplating the filing of a complaint with the CBSC regarding the interview with Margie Gillis on an episode of Canada Live; or

2.have filed such a complaint since June 8.

While the CBSC wishes to thank everyone who has taken the time to send a complaint to the CBSC concerning the Krista Erickson interview with Margie Gillis on an episode of Canada Live, the volume of complaints already sent to us exceeds the Council’s resources.


So, many thanks for contacting the CBSC or contemplating doing so.  We have more than enough substance to go on to resolve the concerns regarding the interview with Margie Gillis on an episode of Canada Live.

Sounds like an organized effort on behalf of Ms. Gillis.  Got get 'em., artsy types, although I'm still pretty sure "Voice of Fire" ripped off the New York Giants.

McHale And Vandermaas Get New Gig

Gary McHale, Mark Vandermaas, and co. have declared victory in Caledonia.  They've decided there's no point in hassling Indians anymore and moved on to greener pastures.  More particularly, London Ont., where they've been hassling...well, try and guess who they've been hassling. So far, though, the only people they've managed to get a rise out of come from the local business community:

Yesterday, a property owner asked me to move from in front of her business location. I know it’s not great to have a protest near your business, so I agreed to rotate my chosen place each day in order to try to accommodate her wishes, which I did.

Today, a second business owner came out to ask me to move my protest to the other side of the street.... I wasn’t even standing in front of his office, I was standing in front of a neighbouring building. He told me he was concerned that people would drive by and think someone was protesting against his business. I suggested all he had to do is tell his customers, ’By the way…the protest outside has nothing to do with me.’ When I reminded him that I wasn’t in front of his business, and suggested that no one was going to associate a guy wearing a blue beret and a UN flag with a protest against him, he told me my sign was too small and people driving by couldn’t read it, so they might think it was about him. It was all I could do to read his sign from the sidewalk, so I didn’t think that was going to be a problem. I told him I was rotating positions, and that free speech was why we live in Canada, but he wasn’t happy.

I’m not naming the business owners because I don’t want to focus on them, but the lesson (also learned in Caledonia, BTW) is unmistakable: when push comes to shove, don’t count on too many business owners to lead the charge to defend your Charter rights.

OK.  If you can't guess, go here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Gov. Radio Ads On The Census

I've heard the one they're running on Q107 a dozen times now.  It refers to a "mandatory census form", but make no distinction between the long and short form.  Which means that the gov's not stupid enough at least to encourage non-compliance with the (now voluntary) long-form. 

Too little too late, but a sign somebody realises the original decision (back-story here, though a bit scrambled) was a dangerous fuck-up.

Nice Little Filibuster, Lets Do It Again Sometime

First off, Stephen Taylor speaks true (or at least trueish, for him):

The Liberals were very much absent from the debate. The interim leader and about 2/3 of his caucus were absent from the votes. Mailing it in had a few Liberal partisan friends wondering again why they still back the Grits, now decimated.

I count myself as one of those who thought the LPoC's "no politics please, we're in the process of navel-gazing" approach to the filibuster disappointingly ineffectual.  Granted, this was a relatively minor issue where popular opinion broke towards the government.  And, luckily, more important votes are coming up where the Party could, and should, be prepared to go to the mat.  I am thinking of  any bill to dismantle the long-gun registry.  Its a LPoC creation, and frankly the high-point of Iggy's career as party leader came when he whipped the vote and beat back the Torys' last attempt at repeal.  It is, as well, an issue where the longer the debate goes on, the more it tilts against Harper and Co.  If the LPoC can't summon some passion here, then I'm not sure what they're good for anymore.

And, and can we have a moratorium on this "its a long slow road back" talk?  The party must be prepared to fight and win the next general election.  Running on a slogan like "Vote for us: after a few more years worth of thumb-sucking we'll be ready to rule." would be political suicide.  In 2015, many people who voted Liberal this time out will be looking for a vehicle by which pry the Harper Tories from power.  If the LPoC isn't it, don't expect those folks to cast a vote their way out of nostalgia. 

The 7th Message Gleaned From The Conrad Black Case

Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.  The whole notion that His Blackness was as guilty as hell comes hard to some people.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Wildrose To Follow Sask. Party On Human Rights?

In a decision that's already sparking controversy, Wildrose members -including leader Danielle Smith -overwhelmingly voted to disband the Alberta Human Rights Commission, but keep the overarching legislation in place and allow complaints to be dealt with by the courts.

Details are sparse, but it sounds like Ms. Smith is planning the same kind of reforms Brad Wall has tried to implement in Saskatchewan.  The downsides to this are:

1) Limiting Access:

A tribunal is also a much more relaxed and less expensive setting than the formality and complexity of a courtroom. Rules of evidence are not as stringent. Claimants are not faced with the intimidation that comes with such trappings as lawyers and judges wearing robes. Given that human rights complainants very often come from marginalized, low-income communities, this informality goes far in boosting both comfort and confidence.

2) Raising costs to the province.  In Saskatchewan:

"The only difference will be is that they [applicants] are going to be in front of a Court of Queen's Bench judge rather than a tribunal member. So everything else will be exactly the same as it was. So the people that are the applicants that are before the court ... will bear no cost, as they do under the existing system."

If the Wildrose Alliance scheme follows the Sask. model, the province will continue to pick up the bill for  complainants.  But the price of bringing a complaint to the court vs. a tribunal is quite a bit higher.  Hence the cost of running Alberta's human rights apparatus will go up. 

As for the political calculations behind this, the Human Rights Commissions/Tribunals has always been a bugaboo of Wildrosers. Back in 2008 they were endorsed by the Aryan Guard for their strong stand against the Canadian Human Rights Commission, an endorsement they quickly rejected.  Later, sensing the political winds, they even decided they weren't against the hate-speech provisions in Alberta's human rights legislation.  Under their latest scheme, you'd still be able to pursue hate-speech complaints--it would just cost the province more. 

Who know how this is all supposed to be coherent?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Using U.S. Stock Photos Over CanCon To your solidarity with Ontario workers isn't the worst thing you could do. But it's the sign of a shoddy campaign.

Hudak's Proposed Changes To OHRT Would Drive Up Costs

From Ontario News Watch,  human rights lawyer Andrew Pinto:

Critics of the system, citing a backlog of 4,000 cases, have said they want the tribunal run more like a court. 

But the rules of evidence used in courts could require complainants to hire lawyers, as well as pay doctors and other expert witnesses to testify in person, said Pinto.

Under the current system, those who have lodged a complaint with the province's human rights tribunal can submit documents signed by their doctors as evidence, he explained.

We don't know much about Hudak's plan, other than that his "reforms" are supposedly intended to clear-up the 4,000 case backlog.  Cost issues aside, I can't see how requiring expert witnesses to appear in person would speed matters along.  In fact, one of the means by which Hudak would cut eliminate "frivolous complaints" would be to restore the Ontario human rights regime to its pre-2008 state, when cases were screened by the Ontario Human Rights Commission before going to the tribunal.  This is arguably a better way of doing things, but since the '08 changes were billed as time-saving measures designed to speed up the process, returning to the old ways will almost certainly not do anything about that back-log.

Friday, June 24, 2011

NDP Filibuster: The Street Has Spoken

Or at least my wife, long-time Liberal, saying: "You know, I'm proud of Jack." Indeed. Lots of piss and vinegar out of the NDP in the Canada Post showdown. Meanwhile the Liberals come across as a bunch of old white guys that need to sleep, when they're not parsing the semantics of some of bizarre big words they used to describe the scene in the HOC.  I mean really bizarre: Rae's isn't even using  the standard meaning of "shambolic" .  Seriously, if the LPoC can't find much in the way of a youth movement in its ranks, can't they at least fake it?  Slip this bunch some Viagra.  Even Lizzy May's party of 1 is kicking their ass.

PS: Exactly!

Cathy Crowe--Can Soshalists Spel?


E&E Distances Itself From Peiser, GWPF And AGW Denialist Movement

E&E = Energy And Environment, the climate change denialists journal of choice.  Peiser = Benny Peiser,up until recently co-editor of the journal, but now also working for the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF),  a denialist lobby group headed-up by Mr. Peiser and launched by he and Lord Nigel Lawson, Baron of Blaby (I'm not kidding), and father of the beautiful Nigella.  Lawson is also a long-time climate change denier.

E&E's  last brush with fame was a few months ago, when Gavin Schmidt of Real Climate claimed that the magazine had "dispensed with substantive peer review" and another editor, Bill Hughes, threatened libel in response.  This kerfuffle reached the U.K MSM, and I'm happy to say I helped a bit by relating the story of Oliver "Iron Sun" Manuel's dealings with E&E, which pretty clearly demonstrated what a piece of crap the journal has become.

Well, there appears to be a bit of a rethink at the magazine.  Peiser is out as co-editer, and any connection with the GWPF appears to have been severed.  Editer Sonja A Boehmer-Christiansen  writes:

A few important announcements need to be made. Firstly, E&E is not the journal of climate sceptics or deniers, as some have asserted, but will continue to publish papers (seriously peer reviewed) and Viewpoints by these people in order to inform the energy ‘community’ - academic as well as professional - that the science debate which underlies so much of its current activities is by no means over. There may well be a need for a pure science journal dedicated to debating the AGW hypothesis and any role for E&E in this debate would disappear if mainstream scientific publications ceased to reject voices that disagreed with the IPCC line. Secondly, I would like to express my deep thanks to Dr. Benny Peiser for having acting as my co-editor for several turbulent years, but he has returned to our Editorial Board and will remain a valuable support. His work at the Global warming Policy Foundation now keeps him very busy in London. Also, a clear distinction between this lobby group and Energy & Environment may be now be desirable.

Note that this isn't the first time E&E has been burned for their stance re AGW; in 2010 both Bjorn Lomborg and Jim Skea quit the editorial board over this issue.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Spammers Have No Friends

A pretty picture that computer scientists are using to identify spammers.   Each dot is a purported IP address that has sent/recieved hotmail messages.  Normal folk are likely to be "enmeshed" in the resulting network--with both incoming and outgoing e-mail messages tracable to their IP.  Spammers are more likely to be on the outside firing messages into the larger body, with very little in the way of reply (because most people delete their spam without replying). 

Probably not perfect.  As noted, new hot-mail users (who have not sent or received many messages) may get tagged as spammers.

Who Says "The Right" Doesn't Use Human Rights Tribunals?

Here's  a story from Lifesite about Damian Goddard, whose messages on twitter in defense of "true marriage" allegedly got him fired from Sportsnet, taking the matter to the CHRT.  Presumably, he will argue that he was discriminated against on the basis of religion, he being a devout Roman Catholic

There.  Parity has been achieved.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Senate Reform In A Nutshell

“I think it’s pretty simple, he might not even want this form of Senate reform, but it appeals to his base in the West,” said Prof. [Ned] Franks. “You’ve got to remember the ‘Triple E Senate,’ which is a Canadian brand of tooth paste as far as I know, is sort of the darling of the West. So he introduces it, it gets shot down, he’s lost nothing. He gains something because he tried.”

So: even with a majority the Harper Torys are more worried about raising funds--for what, exactly, at this point in the electoral cycle?--then crafting Legislation that will stand the test of time, which one would like to think is the goal of all federal governments.

Grow up, Torys!

But for a slightly different view, read Colby Cosh, who argues that its the entirely pseudo nature of the proposed Senate election process that renders these "reforms" OK constitutionally.  And, just as an aside,Colby's  hair is even more appalling than it used to be.  When I told him to get a hair-cut, I didn't mean that.

The Emptiest Of Empty Threats

He's going to stiff Westerners over their precious Triple-E? Not likely. He's going to open The Constitution, followed a minute later by every group with complaint (legit or not) demanding that their complaint be dealt with now its open? If Senate Reformers get a turn, why not First Nations? Not bloody likely.

 I mean, I'm OK with Senate abolishment. But rather than try to get to that point and have the nation blow-up somewhere in transit, I'd frankly prefer to let the PM continue to appoint hacks.

Oh, and as for the current bill: its crap. The PM only has to take any Senate election result "under advisement"; he is not bound by it. Therefore why would anyone bother to run if they hadn't already cleared their candidacy with the PM? And if the PM is still final arbiter, why go through the whole election dog-and-pony show in the first place? Again, why not just let the PM continue to appoint hacks.  Its cheaper that way.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Conservative MP Deletes Offensive Tweets

Yesterday, Tory MP Bob Zimmer for Prince George-Peace River made a number of really stupid comments re the closure of the Marine Rescue Centre in St. John’s, NFLD., basically joking that shutting down a service that many regard as life-saving was a fine thing and a sign of Stephen Harper's "leadership" qualities.  I bitched, as did some others.  And you know the tweeter in question realizes he's fucked up when he deletes the material in question, which somebody in the Zimmer camp did, as has been pointed out by others.  That's what I call "apology by stealth". 

Tomorrow morning, Mr. Zimmer ought to come out and do it properly--which is to say: publicly.

Toronto Moves To Toughen Up Discrimination Policy

[James]Pasternak’s motion directed city manager, Joe Pennachetti, to craft an updated discrimination policy that will ensure events funded by the city, or that take place on city property, promote respect, tolerance and diversity.

In other words, no hate speech.

Well, that's one way of putting it.  Another way is to say that under Toronto's current discrimination policy, which is based on the Ontario Human Rights Code,  the expression "Israeli Apartheid" does not constitute hate speech, so council has voted to change the policy such that it does, thus effectively prohibiting Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from marching in Toronto's Pride parade.  The rewrite won't be ready for this year's march, and in any case its easy to see how it might all go awry:  though aimed explicitly at QuAIA, the language in the new document must be crafted in more general terms, and there's already a line-up forming to address the concerns of other groups.

Dairy Queen Street Station?

The Hooters Center (once known as City Hall)?

Damn right they should reconsider.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Because Its Only A Matter Of Drowned Newfies

Bob Zimmer Makes an ass of himself:

Because no matter where you come down on the issue once you've considered it soberly, simply poo-poohing the safety concerns of NFLD. fishermen in this cavalier a fashion is revolting.


Whither Mark Steyn?

It was pointed out to me yesterday that Mark Steyn hasn't produced content for Macleans in quite awhile.  So I fired off an email to Senior Columnist Paul Wells.  He responded:

Feel free to quote me but I won't be very helpful. Mark hasn't written for us for about a year. I don't know whether that's permanent; he normally deals only with senior management.

So I fired another one off to Ken Whyte asking whether Steyn was still on the payroll, but have received no response as yet.  In any case, "about a year" puts us in the vicinity of Steyn's April 12, 2010 column True North Strong Not Free.  In the course of this column, which was otherwise Steyn's typical Muslim bashing, railing against censorship, and etc., Mr. Steyn attributed comments to the Canadian Jewish Congress that were in fact from an item in the Mississauga News that was hosted on the CJC website.  This screw-up triggered a nasty letter from the CJC headBernie Farber and,  eventually (about April 18th), a grovelling apology from Macleans.

Since then, it would seem, nothing more from Steyn in Macleans.  Has Bernie and the Ceej chased him out of the Canadian jounosphere?  That's a bit speculative, but in any case its nice to see him gone.

PS. Unless he's gone because of poor health, obviously.  Although I thought he had resolved all of those issues.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Under Stephen Harper, Canada Has Become A More Conservative Country

Even last year (Tory Minority) you would never see Ottawa merchants selling crap like this.  Now (Tory Majority) they`re freaking rampant in the streets:

And when the lights go out you can hear whips cracking, and the sound of people being spanked.  No idea where its coming from (or if there's a cover charge).  Is this Ottawa-Carlton or Sodom-Gomorrah?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Great Sea Serpent

So I am browsing through the shelves at Argosy Books, which has become my favorite Ottawa Area bookstore, and the owner is showing me some old, hard-bound reports from various archaeological societies, and I see a copy of an early translation (1904, I think) of The Great Sea Serpent by Anthonie Cornelis Oudemans . This was the first attempt to systematize all previous reports of anomalous sea-creature sightings from all over the planet.  A beautiful volume--there's a little drawing of the Daedalous monster (left) on the cover.  I looked at the price...$1,250...thought a moment of selling one of my kidneys, and then said no thank you.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Who Are The Senate's Tory Rebels

...who are resisiting the gov.'s efforts at Senate Reform?

I have compiled a partial list here. Furthermore, given his remarks on the radio yesterday (he said of Bert Brown, composer of the infamous Tory Senator's oath of loyalty, that the man was off his meds), and his earlier remarks here, I think we can add...wait for it...Mike Duffy to the list! So: the dirty half-dozen! In fact, from this it sounds like Pamela Wallin has gone a wee bit squishy, if she has not always been squishy and I just didn't notice. And this just confirms Jacques Demers general squishiness, which has been an obvious, long-term condition for him.

PS. I am off to the nation's capital with the wife to do some shopping and museum going over the weekend, so this may be it for today. I am scheduling a "media availability", probably for Sunday afternoon, but if non-media want to meet somewhere and just hoist a few pints, drop me an email and we'll see what can be arranged.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

NDP's New Look!


PS. Not a diss.  This is actually my favorite pic of Mr. Layton.  You notice, however, that he is wearing the red jersey.

One Good Thing About Toronto

You never have to worry about hockey fans rioting because the team loses in the Stanley Cup finals.

The PCs In Ontario


Considering Dalton McGuinty's personal unpopularity, the PCs could be doing better than this. They are still well below the electoral outcome of the federal Conservatives in the province, and the provincial Liberals don't seem to have been hurt by their federal counterpart's drubbing at the polls.

Hudak will be running his first campaign as leader, McGuinty his fourth. Will Dalton McGuinty's experience win out, or will voters want change for change's sake?

Good question.  Certainly a six point lead is not insurmountable.  And, given the fact that Mr. Hudak has already broken his "no negative campaigning promise", I'd say start carpet bombing him with attack ads.  Use pictures of him that exploit the fact he's got five o'clock shadow by two in the afternoon.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

NDP Continues Long, Painful Process Of Redefinition

...or, to put it more bluntly, of selling out.  But its a good thing.  Some of the nutty language in its constitution does nothing but provide fodder for Tory attack ads, and should be removed.  Not that moving to the Centre isn't fraught with problems:

“If it fails, it will be little more than the new Liberals,” said [York University Professor James]Laxer...

And of course there's the issue of a backlash.  Be interesting to see how Mr. Layton and Co. handle, for example, the move to repeal The Clarity Act.  I am assuming the NDP caucus is, like that of the other parties, allowed to ignore whatever comes out of  its convention.

Rupert Murdoch Should Listen To His Momma

A group of prominent Australians has published an open letter calling for a price on carbon to help deal with climate change.

The letter is signed by four former Australians of the year - including Professor Fiona Stanley, Ian Kiernan, Professor Pat McGorry and Sir Gustav Nossal.

It is also signed by Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, the philanthropist and mother of News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch.

Meanwhile, enviro-journalist Keith Kloor says climate scientists shouldn't nag, conveniently forgetting that, in the end, Momma knows best.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


"...The government is rushing because 31 Hells Angels were let out of jail. This bill does not put them back in jail," May said.

With the LPoC navel gazing, and the NDP joining the Torys in demagoguery, it is down to our lone Green to keep Parliament on the straight-and-narrow.

PS. Show me one case up before the courts that rushing this legislation through the parliamentary process will effect in a positive manner, and I will reverse my opinion.  But you can't.  So nyah.

A Quick Note On Megatrials And Bill C-2

I see that Vijay Sappani is getting upset with Lizzy May For demanding hearings into Bill C-2.  He seems to think that all "due diligence" has already been completed by the various parties.  It has not been.  The predecessor to C-2 was Bill C-53, introduced in November of last year.  As you can see through the link, it did not even make it to 2nd reading.  No debate.  No committee work.  No nothing.  I think Vijay is being naive when he says the NDP would have jumped all over the bill if they'd seen problems with it.  My feeling is they see an  opportunity to score a few cheap points, and are going for it.  You should realize that they're not incapable of crude demagoguery, their "principles" notwithstanding.

And Vijay, dude, those Hell's Angels are gone and they ain't coming back, no matter how quickly the HOC acts on this bill.  Hence, whatever did or did not happen in their case is no excuse for unseemly haste now.  Also, lets face it, the Torys agenda for the upcoming year is minimalist in the extreme.  It isn't as though C-2 will get crowded out by something else.  Let it be debated.

Its Not Power And Politics

...but if you watch to the end you can see me sounding off on the No Frills Veggy section.  If anyone from P&P is watching, however, please note the ample, wind-swept hair, which I believe compares favourably to Anderson Cooper.

H/t Imp for finding the clip.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Might Have been On Global Tonight

...interviewed this aft about a "needle" they found in a head of lettuce at a No-Frills close to my place.  Don't know if they mean a syringe or a knitting needle.  They caught up with me in the parking-lot.   I was wearing a black  "The Cure" t-shirt, and gave a shout out to Longo's as the only sanitary place to shop in T.O. these days. 

If I made the tape, do I still sound like a gay waiter?  I'm trying to fix that.

PS.  Here's the story Global scambled their news van for this.  Must have been a slow news day.

Go Lizzy May!

Elizabeth May is the only MP in the HOC, and The Green Party the only party (by definition!) in favour of due diligence when it comes to legislatin' crime laws. Also clever on the part of the Dippers, politically, but do they really want to stand for Justice rushed?

But at least these two parties both have discernable positions. Where's the LPoC? Are they waiting for Alf Apps to prognosticate?  Or are they content to play the role of metoos, initiating nothing?

A Blast From Ezra's Past:

Despite his constant criticism of CBC as a "state broadcaster" spouting propaganda "on the tax-payers dime", Ezra Levant sponged up government dough when he ran The Western Standard.  And, when it went under, what happened to its subscribers?

I wasn’t a Western Standard subscriber — I received its e-mails because I had registered for its website, in hopes it would provide grist for this blog. As it has. It is to laugh. All those loyal subscribers with their avaricious belief in the free-market, now invited to place their subscriptions where the liberal sun don’t shine. Perfect.

Levant didn’t help matters by telling The Globe and Mail that “the magazine wasn’t purely an economic mission to begin with, but also a moral one.” Apparently that morality doesn’t extend to meeting one’s financial commitments.

Levant also left the WS' new owners with a real stinker of a blog post, which drew calls for Muslim genocide in the comments and resulted in a police investigation and, eventually a grovelling apology from Matthew Johnston, the mag's new editor.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What Gets You Banned From Fox News North

Saying "dildo".  Not being a Nazi.  Meanwhile, its official: on average Sun TV doesn't have enough  viewers to fill a junior hockey rink. But that's better then Kory Teneycke expected.  Because presumably Kory Teneycke expected to be back working at a MacDonald's drive-through by this time.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hudak's Chain-Gang Proposal: Camp Run Amok Redux?

"There are ways to manage the risks; there are ways to diminish the risk, but there's no way to eliminate risk. Will some inmates escape? Will some inmates walk away? It's possible, and anyone who tells you it's not is lying."

Anyone remember Mike Harris and Camp Turnaround?  Tim Hudak's chain gang proposal risks the same result, but on a  province wide basis.

The Perils Of Social Media, Part Gazillion: The Bimbot

As a guy, you eventually realize that, once you're past a certain age, if beautiful women appear to be interested in you, they're up to no good.  So I've never been taken in by one of those gorgeous gals who dress scantily on Facebook and want to be everyone's friend, but once you do sign up turn out to be good for nothing but a lot of spam.  In this piece, Henry Copeland attempts to suss out the motives of these buxom "Bimbots".  His conclusions are profoundly non-surprising:

My guess is that somebody is setting up Facebook accounts with nonexistent (or hired) attractive women, and sending out large numbers of friend requests to guys with the hope that many will accept the request. (For all I know, similar requests, with attractive guys, are being sent to women.) Once you accept their friend request, they gain access to a lot of information about you.

Even after Facebook tightened up its privacy settings, it seems clear that people are blithely sharing way too much of their lives with people they haven’t fully vetted. And it seems likely that our conversations are being spied on, recorded and analyzed, either by folks from China or by corporate sleuths hiding behind seductive masks to track and influence conversations about their clients, customers and competitors.

PS.  The Bimbot Copeland singles out for special attention, Nicole Bally, is probably in reality Nicole Carroll, a fitness trainer whose had her picture ripped off and posted to Facebook.  Interestingly enough, since his post went up, her Facebook profile has come down.

Will Lindsay Blackett Become Canada's First Black Premier?

He is apparently considering a run for Mr. Stelmach's old job.

In the past I've been quite critical of Mr. Blackett.  His handling of Alberta's human rights legislation revamp (bill 44) was not terribly coherent.  In fact, it was confused and contradictory.

And yet  everything seems to have come right in the end.  Section 3 (the hate speech provision) of the act remains in place, sexual orientation as a grounds for discrimination was explicitly written in, and I am informed  that the parental opt-out provision--which would have allowed people to remove their kid from of a class teaching Darwin or mentioning homosexuality--has been so watered down as to be meaningless.

So Progressivism triumphed in Alberta, perhaps accidentally, and this guy appears to have been standing in the vicinity when it happened. Whether that's reason enough to put him in charge of the province, my Western brothers and sisters will have to decide.

PS.  I would just note that Balckett's handling of Bill 44  drove Ezra Levant into a frenzy.  For me, obviously, that's another plus.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Banned By Ontario Catholics

While most people may see rainbows as a good sign because the rain is ending, some Catholic schools in Ontario have banned visual references to the iconic colourful arch.

Its just too damn gay.

NDP Private Member's Bill Would Ban Replacement Workers

From NDPer Chris Charlton:

The purpose of this enactment is to prohibit employers under the Canada Labour Code from hiring replacement workers to perform the duties of employees who are on strike or locked out.

The enactment also provides for the imposition of a fine for an offence.
I'm not dead set against banning scab labour, although in practice any government that  legislated in this manner would have the business community on their case forever.  And maybe the NDP has made similar proposals when they were 3rd party-ers.  But as official opposition even their private members bills are going to come under great deal of scrutiny.  I can just see how this one might play out in the days and weeks ahead.  Think Ruby Dhalla and Bill C-428.

Toronto Sun Building Mural...

...has been bulldozed, to make way for an LCBO, a paintball facility (including laser tag!), a No Frills, and maybe a Dollarama. Or so I've been told.  But the abject humiliation does not end there! I hear that The Sun staff has been crammed onto floors 13 and 13-A. One floor up from them is a radical mosque, which calls adherents to jihad 9 times a day through weird horns that sound like somebody was trying to make bag-pipes sound shittier. One of the loud-speakers they use--bolted into marble gifted to the T.O. Sun founding fathers by Prince Henrich in the old days when things were way whiter--is right outside Ezra Levant's office, which used to be a stall in the mens-room. He's also the guy they expect to answer the buzzer and  tell any errant jihadis they're on the wrong floor.  He's supposed to be polite about it too.  All that "politically incorrect" bullshit goes out the window when the folks paying the bills show up.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

What Happened To Harper's Previous Cat?

As Sharon notes in the comments, this guy did one photo-op and disappeared.  Too damn Liberal?

The Semiotics Of Stanley The Cat: A Few Notes

1) For all his "regular guy" posings, the PM treats these casual photo ops very seriously.  In this picture, all his familiar tropes appear:  staplers, folders, papers--the guy works hard, just not on one of them new-fangled computer thingies (and actually, given his age, the PM's formative work experiences would have been PC free, so...nostalgia?).  What I find interesting is the (cheap?) print of John A. over his right shoulder, which evokes the old campaign poster: The old flag.  The old policy.  The old leader.  Thus far, Harper has steered away from invoking the ghosts of Tories past, and its actually served him well. In contrast, where has the LPoC's "Party of Laurier" stuff got them lately?  Its interesting that the PM should make those gestures now, and who he should choose.  Although perhaps not surprising: name a Tory Prime Minister other than Mulroney, and you wouldn't use Mulroney for obvious reasons.

2) That cat is dead, IMHO, and has been stuffed.  A real cat would never look that stiff. Unless its been hanging around with the PM for awhile.  So who knows?  If I'm wrong give it six months and Stanley will wind up in the Senate.  Because breathing is a necessary qualification for being a Tory Senator.  I think.  Although I wasn't getting too many indications from sentience out of David Tkachuk the other night.

Picture is from here.

Monday, June 06, 2011

It Won't Last

Verdict: Civility is boring. We want blood. I give it a week until John Baird drops his pants and tells the opposition to witness his foreign policy.

Also, The Sun has either shopped this photo out of bias so Mr. Layton looks like a pinhead, or he is one. Whatever.

Dr. James Hansen

....on the Keystone XL pipe-line.  Nothing you haven't heard before, other than his opinion that the State Dept. is likely to give its approval. In any case, its the Northern Gateway that really needs to be stopped.  It's the one  oil-companies would use to sell to the Chinese if Americans demanded that we green the tar sands.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Dissident Page Not Just Smokin' Hot But Clever

From a Tory blogger whose probably a guy (not that there's anything wrong with that):

Will this affect her career? Yep — but not in the way you might think.

First, you have to note the details for before and after her altercation — the news release, the use of Twitter to communicate her message, the post-event interview. Take all of those, objectively, and you’ll realize that, far from being a light-brained idiot, there’s a planner who know exactly what she was doing, what the consequences would be and how she would handle them. Certainly she had a bit of trouble with her interviewing skills, but if we’re honest, we have to admit: she handled her actions far better than Michael Ignatieff did the 2011 election campaign. It’s that type of go-getter attitude that got her a Loran scholarship in 2007, and probably landed her the Page position to begin with.

There are NGOs out that that could use that kind of planning, and some municipal / provincial politicians could see her value, objectively, as well. Far from snuffing it, Ms. dePape may be clever enough to use this as a springboard for a career in protest politics.

As to the whole question re the "appropriateness" of her actions: remember all that stuff about "contempt of Parliament" that triggered election #41 in the first place?  I can't see how this gal's actions top anything Bev Oda, for example, did in the way of  lowering the reputation of our governing institutions.

And yet Brigette's the one that got fired.

Titus Andronicus New Single

2nd one off The Moniter:

Not the obvious choice, but anthemic enough in the end. 

PS. I think I've finally figured out band-leader Patrick Stickles' thing with the beard.  He's not doing the Jihadi look; he's doing the Starving American Civil War Soldier look, which fits in with the themes on the album.  Believe it or not. Still, success has changed him.  From the video it looks likes he's filled out a bit; not sure "the look" works anymore. Anyway, in rawk beards are almost always a mistake. Look what happened to Jim Morrison: he grew a beard, he died.

Anyway, these days these guys are my favorite rock band, and Stickles my favorite candidate for rock boy genius.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Dissident Senate Page Is Genuinely Hot

I don't normally go for braids, but in this case I say fire her if you must but then give her the Order of Canada.  You can see her dancing around doing some kind of art thing here.

Replace Weiner With Lepp And You've Got It...

I've said many times that the security measures for some of these various social networking services are pitiful.  Well, check this out:

So, let’s say [Lepp]’s posting address was [Lepp] If  Lepp emailed a photo to that address from his government account, it would be posted to Twitter. If I emailed that address from my own account, any photo I sent would be posted on his stream as well. All a “hacker” needs to know is that [Lepp] address.

All those addresses follow the same format: Twitterusername.[ ], and that blank space was always filled with a random word, five to six characters long, generated by Yfrog. So it wouldn’t be that hard to fill in the blanks.
According to The Daily Dot, after it reached out to Yfrog for comment, the service disabled the email-to-post option. We’ve reached out to Yfrog for comment ourselves.

Interestingly enough, if something like this really did happen in George Lepp's case, it would mean that no Blackberry thief was required to make the prank work.  Which would mean that Mr. Lepp is not probably being honest about what happened (and that he's till got his Blackberry).  You would still need a loose penis around to pull it off, but those are easy enough to find.

Orange Wave Comes To T.O.?

The recent poll also asked residents which party they would support should a provincial election be held today. Among those residents who were decided / leaning it was found that support was split between the Progressive Conservative and Liberals (34% each; PC up from 32% and Liberals down from 36% on February 25th26th, 2011), followed by NDP (26%; up from 19%), and the Green party (7%; down from 12%).

If interpreted in most obvious manner, you would say that the Green's are going (back(?)) to the NDP.

Battling Ontario's Anti-Wind NIMBYs

Environmental Defence has a nice take-down of John LaForet and the gang at Wind Concerns Ontario. Below is my favourite bit, because it answers a question that has bothered me for awhile:

A big part of the anti-wind activists’ argument regarding viability is that the wind does not blow all the time – the power is intermittent. While this is true, the fact that wind power is part of an overall electricity system connected to multiple wind projects in different places, other electricity sources, and other jurisdictions who can trade electricity means that intermittency can be planned for and dealt with. Indeed, it is being successfully dealt with in countries likeDenmark, Germany, and Spain which already have much higher levels of wind power on their grids than Ontario does.


Digging deeper, anti-wind activists claim that wind power must have polluting electricity sources as backup, which just isn't true. Even if it were, it's bizarre to argue for dropping the clean part of the mix, leaving only the dirty part. The reality is that every megawatt hour of wind power delivered to the grid is a megawatt hour that does not have to come from someplace else, clean or otherwise.

At about 2 per cent of Ontario’s electricity output by fuel type,18 wind’s intermittency is currently easily dealt with by other sources. Hydro, for example, accounts for about 20 per cent and can be used as a type of storage, drawing down water levels when wind is low and letting them build up when it is strong. Ontario could also explore pumped storage at hydro facilities, using wind power during strong wind periods to pump water back behind dams to release for power later.19 With a better tie-in to the hydro-rich Quebec grid and more electricity trading with that province, the wind-hydro synergy could improve even more. Manitoba, for example, just signed a $4 billion deal with Minnesota to trade wind and hydro power.20

Finally, anti-wind activists allege that wind power isn’t viable because it is too expensive. It must be pointed out that if cost is their concern, then they should be arguing against nuclear power, currently Ontario’s largest and most expensive source of power, but we rarely hear this from them.

On a somewhat related note, this was a clever prank.  Here's the Facebook page.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Edward Wegman: The Retraction

The following is the Elsevier retraction statement that will appear shortly.

Retraction notice

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor in Chief and co‑Editors, as it contain portions of other authors' writings on the same topic in other publications, without sufficient attribution to these earlier works being given.

The principal authors of the paper acknowledged that text from background sources was mistakenly used in the Introduction without proper reference to the original source.

Specifically, the first page and a half of the article (pp. 2177‑2178) contain together excerpts from Wikipedia (first paragraph), Wasserman and Faust's "Social Network Analysis: Methods and Applications" (pp. 17‑20) ISBN 10: 0521387078 / 0‑521‑38707‑8 ISBN 13: 9780521387071 Publication Date: 1994, and W. de Nooy, A. Mrvar, and V. Bategelj's "Exploratory Social Network Analysis with Pajek" (pp. 31, 36, 123, and 133) ISBN 10: 0521602629 / 0‑521‑ 60262‑ ISBN 13: 9780521602624 Publication Date: 2005.

The scientific community takes a strong view on this matter and apologies are offered to readers of the journal that this was not detected during the submission process. One of the conditions of submission of a paper for publication is that authors declare explicitly that their work is original and has not appeared in a publication elsewhere. The re‑use of material, without appropriate reference, even if not known to the authors at the time of submission, breaches our publishing policies.

There is also some information in this story on the Bradley complaint:
Bradley has complained to Elsevier, which was the publisher of the 1999 book, and company officials have proposed a meeting to discuss the issue, he says. "Elsevier has a financial interest in people not plagiarizing their books," says Bradley. "Otherwise, why do they have a copyright?"
Some background here.

Your Daily Nazi: Fox News North To Interview Marc Lemire!

Dets here! First Ezra did Shaidle, now Lemire.  He must thinking giving these guys a platform is going to get some government somewhere to act.

Update: The message on FreeD has been disappeared.  Don't know what that signifies.  You can see it on google here.

Vivian Krause On Sea-Lice

Once a consultant for the salmon farming industry, these days Vivian Krause refers to herself as a "researcher", and spends a fair bit of time attacking groups like the  David Suzuki Foundation for their criticism of industry practices, in particular their contention that sea lice from farmed salmon are infecting and depleting wild stocks.  Here are some excerpts from her latest, entitled The case of the missing Sea Lice:

For more than a decade, the David Suzuki Foundation has run an aggressive campaign against farmed salmon. "It's poison!" David Suzuki told a conference in Toronto. "Phone your local hospitals and find out if farmed salmon is served to patients," said a brochure from his foundation.

The Suzuki Foundation distributed a brochure titled Why You Shouldn't Eat Farmed Salmon. It features David Suzuki's photo prominently on the front page. Since last February, however, that brochure -along with 20 press releases and Web pages about salmon farming -have been quietly removed from the foundation's website. Gone.

You can read the whole thing, but Krause's claim is that the reason Why You Shouldn't Eat Farmed Salmon has been pulled from is because her own efforts have shown the arguments in the brochure to have been falsified:

Internet archives show that last February, 16 press releases and Web pages about salmon farming were removed merely hours after I put on my blog a detailed letter to David Suzuki in which I asked questions about the funding and scientific weakness of the Suzuki Foundation’s position.

She concludes

Given that for more than 10 years, the David Suzuki Foundation has played a leading role in fostering the opinion that sea lice from salmon farms are a serious threat to wild salmon, it is not good enough for the foundation to simply and quietly remove the press releases that started the whole sea lice controversy in the first place.

My hope is that David Suzuki is big enough to admit that contrary to his foundation's claims that were broadcast far and wide, its sea lice research never did show that sea lice originating from salmon farms cause high levels of mortality among juvenile salmon in the wild.

Well, I found Ms. Krause' arguments a bit "fishy".  For example, if you type "salmon farming" or "sea lice" into the Suzuki Foundation website, you get pages and pages of results, mostly warning about their effect on the mortality of wild salmon.  So, if the organization has pulled material, it has also left a ton of material making the same point up on its website.  I'd also note that the publication date on Why You Shouldn't Eat Farmed Salmon is 2002, which may mean that the information contained in it has been superseded by later research.

So I emailed the foundation, and Ian Hanington, their communications guy, responded with the following (which I have annotated in places):

Thanks for your letter.

The David Suzuki Foundation rebuilt and migrated its website to a new platform in April/May 2010. In doing so, we updated some content and got rid of some older content in many subject areas (a normal process for any information-heavy site). As you’ve noticed, though, we still have a lot of information about salmon aquaculture on the site, and our positions have remained consistent and science-based.

Mr. Hanington then discusses the capabilities of the "internet archives" Ms. Krause references in her piece:

We would also note that the “Wayback Machine” referred to in the article works by sending a computer program (a crawler) on to a website once every few months to crawl through web pages. It is an incomplete process, as often pages are missed due to technical reasons. Our old website was not built in straight HTML, so it was harder for the Wayback Machine to archive properly.

As the Wayback Machine crawlers only visit a site every few months, the archive can’t be trusted for placing exact dates of pages that are removed from the Internet.

Here’s a blurb directly off the Wayback Machine’s FAQs page:

Not every date for every site archived is 100% complete. When you are surfing an incomplete archived site the Wayback Machine will grab the closest available date to the one you are in for the links that are missing. In the event that we do not have the link archived at all, the Wayback Machine will look for the link on the live web and grab it if available. Pay attention to the date code embedded in the archived url. This is the list of numbers in the middle; it translates as yyyymmddhhmmss.  For example in this url the date the site was crawled was Feb 29, 2000 at 12:33 and 40 seconds.

I hope that helps.

Thank you, Mr. Hanington, I think it does.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

What Did I Say?

Conservative senators balking at Senate reform.

Seriously, who could not have predicted this? I sure did. To get appointed, you say yes sir yes sir Mr. Harper sir I will sir: but once you've been appointed to your job-for-life, its fuck you! time.

Hudak's Solution To Rob Ford's Contracting Out Problems?

...and, I would note, the fat guy in the photo will steal a well-paying, unionized job off your local garbage-man.  Is this some kind of deal between Rob Ford and the Hudak Torys to privatize T.O.'s trash collection?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Numbers To Ponder

40% Total
30% Catholic
52% Jewish
12% Muslim
50% Regular church-goers
27% Non-religious

Dennis Gruending ties them all together, and even manages to shed light on this post election meeting between Msgr. Patrick Powers, the general secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Jason Kenney.

Margaret Wente Has An Eye For Good Prose

When she sees some, she takes it.