Saturday, November 29, 2014

Xmas Horror Descends To New Depths!

My wife has recently started watching chick flicks about Xmas on the Hallmark Channel.  She won't stop. I call them Chickmas Flicks.  I can't barf harder, or any more frequently.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Your Daily Ezra: Ezra Levant Gets Legal Ass Handed To Him

He's going to be paying Khurrum Awan $80,000 for "reckless disregard for the truth".  I've read the decision, and will excerpt a bit tomorrow, and try to post it if it isn't available elsewhere by that time,  but it isn't really that interesting if you have followed Levant's career.  He spread evil bullshit intent on destroying careers and lives and when brought before the legal system, got hosed.  Just like all the previous occasions.  And just like the next time, because it's hard to imagine the Warman v. Levant case being any less of a slam dunk. Ezra's dad will have to dig deep to pay all his kid's legal bills.

Update: Judgement is here.

But Where Would Alberta Separate To?

David Marsden, of the Clagary Herald editorial board, complains about  troubles facing the Energy East and other pipelines:

Quebec separation appears to be dead for the time being. But if Alberta is continually thwarted by politicians peddling spurious arguments, don’t be surprised if talk of Alberta separation begins to catch fire once again.

I guess the question really is: who cares?  Does anyone in Alberta think it would find it easier get pipeline built as a separate country?  The mention of Quebec here is apropos: Alberta stands to Canada where Quebec did about a decade ago: we're tired of their incessant whining, and no longer moved by their threats.  In fact I would suggest that the ROC has come to realize that we have Alta. by the balls.  Its time they figured that out, else we decide to squeeze 'em.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Will Brian Lilley Issue Grovelling Apology For November 18th Video Segment?

The video segment itself is  here.  Its print counterpart here. The grovelling apology (print edition) is below:

Media preview
Will there be a video version of this apology to follow?  Official steps have been taken by Mr. Raynolds to extract one, and they seem to have paid off:
Stay tuned (but not to Sun TV, needless to say).

NEWS FLASH! NDP MP Anonymously Accuses LPC MP Of Sexual Assault!

“It was sex without explicit consent,” she said.

This is bullshit, because, want to or not, she has in fact destroyed a man's career.  And seems willing to keep the story alive via anonymous interviews.  This is starting to look like a sleazy NDP political maneuver.  The alleged victim(s) should come clean or clam up.

Monday, November 17, 2014

New Leger Federal Poll

Because there hasn't been much federal polling lately:
Here's the link.  Not much analysis, however.  For that, read  Grenier.  Bottom line: not much change.


AHRC legal counsel Arman Chak, a frequent target of Sun News TV personality Ezra Levant over the years, has been elected to the BOD of the Alberta Law Society.  Ezra's encounters with the Society have been of another kind altogether.  So congrats Mr. Chak.

PS. Ezra's now thoroughly debunked anti-Muslim screed from last week has picked up a few "likes" from notorious Canadian racist Paul Fromm.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ezra's Grovelling Apology

...can be found here.  The "I was wrong" bit comes at the end (about the 14 minute mark).  Ezra has also pulled the explicit Muslim-bashing from his "Canada: Love It Or Leave It" site (from the cache too, if you are trying to find it there). Finally, SNN has also pulled down the original segment and replaced it  with Ezra's Mea Culpa.  The original T.O. Sun column, however, remains.

Some background on this story can be found here, and  here.

Update:  This person was good enough to screen cap the original/updated Love It Or Leave It page:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ezra Versus The School-Board: Prepare For The Grovelling Apology?

If anyone actually watches, let me know what happened.

Ezra, The School Board, And The Muslims: Day Three

Well, as my CBSC (and also CRTC) complaints await processing in Ottawa, it's time for a few updates.  Most importantly, Ezra has offered his side of the story, and also an email exchange between himself and  Greater Essex County District School Board representative Scott Scantlebury.

Probably the most important bit from his "Factual background" is this:

-Someone who received an e-mailed memo from the school board forwarded it to me as a potential news item.


-That memo we received did not include the links to aboriginal, Asian, and African soldiers in the Canadian military. Scantlebury did not advise us of this fact. The quotes we cited from the memo are accurate.

-I have attached my producer’s email exchanges yesterday with Scantlebury. I have only redacted the producer’s name and contact info.

This leaves open the distinct possibility that Ezra's source deliberately removed the extra links so as to, well, sucker Ezra and his production team into the misconstruction that they did indeed put upon the memo.  In fact, this would not be the first time Ezra has been lied to by one of his tipsters.  In an earlier case as well, the result was a CBSC complaint.

Not that such a scenario would make Ezra's subsequent behavior any less reprehensible.  After all, he surely knows that anyone watching his show and slipping him tips must be to some degree sick in the head, and should be fact-checked quite a bit more thoroughly than the effort Ezra gave it.

On the other hand, after his recent anti-Justin tirade, several family members emailed Ezra to say that the whole episode had been entirely innocent.  These emails conveniently disappeared into Ezra's spam folder (can't find the link for that, so I am going by recollection), so discount the man's words appropriately.

Also,  Greater Essex County District School Board Superintendent Sharon Pyke appeared on the Jerry Agar show to discuss the incident.  Sun News has spun this into an apology by the board, but read the entire transcript of the interview and see if you can detect the contrition in it.  I can't.

And, meanwhile and finally, Ezra is still using the false story as a means of hawking merch at one of his websites.  Hopefully, the CBSC/CRTC will take this into account when trying to form an idea of Ezra's intent in spreading this story.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My First CBSC Complaint!

From the submission I filed with them this morning:

In this segment, Sun News Network personality Ezra Levant implies that the Greater Essex County District School Board has sent around an email to its principals exempting Muslim students from Remembrance Day celebrations due to possible conflicts with their/their families' religious beliefs.

As evidence that the exemption caters to Muslims, Mr. Levant points to a number of links in the email, which send the reader to stories about Muslim soldiers serving in the Canadian army.

Mr. Levant then goes off on a ten minute rant suggesting that any Muslim immigrants who refuse to participate in Remembrance Day ceremonies are being dis-loyal to Canada, and denigrating Muslims in general.

However, when you look at the email in question (which can be found here), you will see that the link to stories re Muslim soldiers are followed by links to other, similar stories about Aboriginal CDN soldiers, African CDN soldiers, and etc.

So the rant is based on a falsehood.  There is nothing in the memo that suggests that this exemption was meant to spare the religious sensibilities of any Muslim child/parent   In fact, a CBC story on the email indicates that the exemption was a matter of parents having safety concerns re sending their kids to a public ceremony, given the Ottawa attacks of a few weeks ago.

Surely this piece fails the CAB code provision requiring accuracy, and contains material that discriminates against Cdn Muslims.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Solid Work: Blogger Gets Anti-Abortion Group's Funding Pulled

Not really my story, so I'll let them tell it.  Swapping insults on the Intertubes is nice, but if you really want to put the boots to the Conservative Menace™, you need to start looking around for ways to defund it.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Fraser Institute On Ontario Electricity Prices: Secret Deals, Conspiracy Theories

Ross McKitrick and Tom Adams have authored What Goes Up…Ontario’s Soaring Electricity Prices and How to Get Them Down for The Fraser Institute.  It purports to be an analysis of the effect government contracts with electricity producers have had on Ontario's power bills.  According to McKitrick and Adams, a large portion of the increase in these bills is due to the Green Energy Act, and in particular to the installation of wind farms that the act encouraged.  Response to the study has been limited, but  typically uncritical .    The Canadian Wind Energy Association has promised a rebuttal, but until that happens I thought I would offer a few thoughts of my own.

The study offers an econometric model designed to explain  the "Global Adjustment", which is a monthly charge added to Ontario power bills to pay for the cost for providing both adequate generating capacity and conservation programs.  The GA has been rising over the past decade or so, even as the market driven portion of the bill, the Hourly Ontario Energy Price or HOEP, has fallen.  At the same time, the installed capacity of wind and has also risen and so, naturally enough, has been the urge to link these facts together.

Now, without getting too deep into the weeds, the companies that contract with the Ontario government to provide the province its electricity can get paid for their actual generation of energy, or for that plus their capacity to generate energy.  From the report:
Note that, according to this, gas plants get paid for their on-hand capacity, but solar and wind generators do not...

Or do they?

Adams and McKitrick fire up their econometric model and use it to crank out a couple of tables. This fellow thinks they contain an error or two,  but for my purposes such details aren't really that important.  Their first attempt at running the model is represented by Table 3 in the report.

You can read what they say about Table 3 through the link, but the bottom line is that they don't like the result it gives them for wind energy; it is not sufficiently alarming.

So Adams and McKtrick decide to give  their model a tweak, which they justify as follows: even though wind generators don't officially get paid for capacity, the global adjustment "behaves" as though they did.  They then provide the following scatterplot as supplying "correlational evidence" for this argument:

What this purports to show us is that where we have greater wind capacity, we have a higher Global Adjustment.

But of course we already know this because, as I noted above, we already know during the last decade or so both installed wind capacity and the GA have increased concurrently. And if you look at the data from whence the chart was derived--this for the GA, and this for wind capacity--it's just basic time-series stuff.  What the GA was at a certain date; how much wind capacity was installed at a specific date. And so if you graphically represented this information as a time-series chart rather than a scattergram you would get a graph with two lines on it, one representing the GA and one wind capacity.  They would both start low on the y axis at earlier dates and rise gradually as you moved date by date along the x axis, closer and closer to the present.  Which, again, we knew already.

But does this mean that the installed capacity of wind was responsible for the increase in the GA?  Well, no: correlation is not causation, as they say.  Furthermore, according to earlier statements by one of the report authors, the price increases in electricity previous to 2013-2014 cannot be put at the feet of wind energy:

[Tom] Adams said the real effect of the wind and solar investments on bills has yet to sting ratepayers but will drive up prices over the next few years.

So it is difficult for me to see why he would change his tune based on a single graph containing no new information.

But onward and upward!  Tom and Ross adjust their model for the assumption that wind generators also get paid for capacity.  And hey presto! we get Table 4!   Suddenly wind-power is driving the increase in the GA.

But there is a problem with this reasoning.  Though the model assumes that wind generators get  paid both for capacity and generation, there are no contracts out there with this in their terms.  Therefore   Adams and McKitrick have to postulate a series of  secret contracts, side deals,  off-the-books stuff. 

So wind drives the GA only if a conspiracy theory they are offering turns out to be true; that is, if the Ontario government has made undisclosed arrangements with the wind companies which, if brought to light, would make up the difference between Table 3 and Table 4.  Not that they offer any evidence of such deals in their report (though I should say that Tom has made a few arm-wavy gestures on twitter:


And I suppose further investigation might turn up such evidence.  But at the moment the McKitrick/Adams conspiracy theory is just an unsupported assumption needed to justify the result they would prefer their model gave them.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Sunday Morning Breakfast By Eat

From Sell Me A God, the greatest album you never heard of:

And another one from the same album:

Heroin is the only thing that kept these guys from becoming God.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Coyne On Income Splitting

He writes:

The Tory plan...removes an unfair preference: between two-income and one-income families.

This is a point that seems to elude the critics. Income-splitting isn’t some sort of special tax break for one-income families. It merely puts them on the same footing as two-income families. Under the present system, a family with one spouse earning, say, $80,000 pays thousands of dollars more in tax — $4,170 more, according to economist Jack Mintz — than a family with two spouses earning $40,000 each. This is manifestly unfair, even allowing for any value imputed to the “unpaid housework” performed by the stay-at-home spouse (a conceptual and computational morass, probably best avoided).

Actually, no it isn't.  If both members of the family earning $40,000 apiece wanted to make more money...well, they probably couldn't.  That is, they're porbably making as much as they can.  On the other hand, a family where one spouse makes  $80,000 and the other $0 has mostly likely voluntarily chosen to forgo the income of one spouse so as to persue a boutique life-style most of us can't afford. And I'm not willing to pay $182 out of my pocket for that.  Forget the principles yada yada that Coyne's refs in his piece.  We all now who this measure is for, right?  We all  know where the money's going: wealthy Reform-style Conservatives who need to have an ideological bone thrown them in advance of the 2015 election.  Andrew's just throwing a layer of philosophical abractions over the whole pile so people don't notice the smell.  Typical for him.