Friday, June 29, 2007

Clap clap, pray pray, chant chant, burn burn

Christopher Hitchens, on a panel show, takes on an apologist for Islamist rent-a-mobs "insulted" by Rushdie's knighthood, and the bovine audience applauding her... moderate and reasonable attitude towards freedom of speech. Bracing.

HT David Thompson

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

London celebrates: "At least we're not Windsor!"

The Real Estate Investment Network (REIN) has released its updated list of top ten real estate investment towns in Ontario, analyzing "current and future prospects for real estate investment opportunities in the province, and identif[ying] the ten best towns and regions for long-term investing." So, where does London fit?

1.      KWC — Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge
2a.     Simcoe Shores — Barrie
2b.     Simcoe Shores — Orillia
3.      Durham Region — Whitby, Pickering and Ajax
4.      Markham
5a.     Hamilton
5b.     Brantford
6.      Brampton
7.      Ottawa
8.      Toronto (!)
9.      Oshawa
10.     Whitchurch–Stouffville

The Farm team, receiving honourable mention, is St. Catharines (Niagara region), Guelph, Orangeville, Aurora and Newmarket, London and Mississauga.
City councils in London over the past decade have relied heavily on the growth in the assessment base to reduce the impact to individual ratepayers of tax increases greatly exceeding the rate of inflation (4.8 per cent this year). Just how sustainable is this political strategy?

Update: Thucydides in the comments:
While London may have seen economic and population growth in the 2-3% range, spending and taxation growth has far outstripped this. Relying on assessment growth to mask the spending increases is not only dishonest, but also sets the city up for economic disaster once the development bubble bursts.

Yes, it could bust due to self inflicted injuries at city hall (which would be poetic justice indeed), but many external factors both in Canada and abroad can also burst the bubble. Do you think the people in city hall have considered the effects of a Democratic presidential victory in 2008, for example? (Hint; large US tax increase and general slowdown of the US economy).

Since London is already unattractive to investors, the results of a dramatic tax hike to cover the declining assessments or an enforced stoppage of expenditures due to lack of funds can only make matters worse. As a small consolation, most of the attractive places to invest listed above are only a two or three hour drive away. You might still be able to commute to work......

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Free speech in social democracy

*Void where prohibited by arbitrary constraints and enforcement

From the Brussels Journal:

Last week, a German court sentenced a 55-year old Lutheran pastor to one year in jail for “Volksverhetzung” (incitement of the people) because he compared the killing of the unborn in contemporary Germany to the holocaust. Next week, the Council of Europe is going to vote on a resolution imposing Darwinism as Europe’s official ideology. The European governments are asked to fight the expression of creationist opinions, such as young earth and intelligent design theories. According to the Council of Europe these theories are “undemocratic” and “a threat to human rights.”
Read the rest here…

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Make Marxism History

I've long maintained that man-made solutions to climate change are a greater threat to the planet than global cooling, and global warming combined. The Manifesto now sports a green cover.

The US Department of Agriculture is redirecting $20 million to study the containment of the scent of cow poop. Farmers are expected to receive credit for contributing to the apparent problem.

Redistributing your hard earned dollars one carbon credit at a time:

Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, Mark Rey, was in Corning Wednesday morning at the Big Flats Plant Materials Center to announce the award of nearly $20 million in Conservation Innovation Grants to fund 51 research projects across the country designed to refine new technologies helping dairy and other agricultural producers cut back on their greenhouse emissions and cash in on governmental incentives for the research.

[..] The main focus of the grant-funded research in New York State would be to tarp off areas where farmers dump cow manure, commonly called manure lagoons. Researchers would then prevent those gases from entering the atmosphere, measure how many units are produced, and farmers would receive cash incentives, called "Carbon Credits," for each unit produced. They would also receive annual payments for use of their properties.
Let's tarp the planet off from the sun, and dump some stuff into the ocean.

Chicken Little debates his fellow Marxists:
A controversial plan to dump iron dust into the open ocean near the Galapagos Islands to induce the growth of phytoplankton met with opposition from an environmental group today.

The plan, from a company called Planktos, Inc., seeks to grow the tiny creatures in an attempt to suck up excess atmospheric carbon dioxide.

[..] “World Wildlife Fund’s concern extends beyond the impact on individual species and extends to the changes that this dumping may cause in the interaction of species, affecting the entire ecosystem,” said microbiologist Sallie Chisholm, a WWF board member. “There’s a real risk that this experiment may cause a domino effect through the food chain.”

Russ George, the CEO of Planktos, Inc., counters that the very reason why the Galapagos Islands have the rich array of life that they do is because of the iron that drains from the islands into the ocean.
CP: Dust My Broom

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Fairness is just another word for something left to steal

Since the essential feature of modern liberalism is the accommodation of irreconcilably opposing viewpoints at the same time, it's hardly surprising that modern liberalism should also accept words to mean their complete opposite.

See also A "Fairness Doctrine"

Update: Nancy Pelosi is apparently also of the same "minds"

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Election Free Speech

Free Speech to criticize our federal politicians was removed by the Canadian Liberal Party and the Supreme Court of Canada upheld it ... not so much in the good old USA:

Justice Scalia began his concurrence by writing:

"A Moroccan cartoonist once defended his criticism of the Moroccan monarch (lese majesteé being a serious crime in Morocco) as follows: ‘I'm not a revolutionary, I'm justdefending freedom of speech . . . I never said we had to change the king -- no, no, no, no! But I said that some things the king is doing, I do not like. Is that a crime?'

"Well, in the United States (making due allowance for the fact that we
have elected representatives instead of a king) it is a crime, at least if the speaker is a union or a corporation (including not-for-profit public-interest corporations) and if the representative is identified by name within a certain period before a primary or congressional election in which he is running

I agree ... Ouch.

Of course the Supreme Court of the United States need not look so far a Moroco, Canada is right next door. We made speech by individuals illegal for the full run of a Federal election campaign. Worse, the Supreme Court of Canada said that the law was a necessary infringement to our freedom of expression, thus turning our freedom of expression into a privilege from a right. However, as with McCain Feingold in the USA, the Canadian Election Act provisions probably will not hold up to judicial scrutiny once someone is actually charged under the act.

(HT: Instapundit)
(CP: Little Tobacco)

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You have no human rights

David Warren:

It is time people realized that “human rights codes” are a weapon employed by the state to suppress disapproved behaviour by the individual. They cannot be wielded by the individual against the state, as independent civil and criminal courts could be. They are star chambers used, and designed to be used, to mount show trials, in which persons who fail to snap to attention when commissar issues the latest political corrections may be publicly demonized. By removing all of their victims’ established legal protections -- presumption of innocence, the right to know one’s accuser, to be tried by a jury of one’s peers, et cetera -- they put a jackboot directly in the teeth of the tradition of human liberty descending from Magna Charta.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Union/City Hall corruption scandal housekeeping update

Butch McClarty from AltLondon in the comments:

Preliminary but unconfirmed reports indicate that 107's five-member Kangaroo Court, aka the "Trial Committee", have found Tim Whitworth, president of CUPE Local 107, "not guilty" of breaching CUPE's Constitution and 107's By-laws with respect to receiving a pay package outside the terms and provisions of their collective agreement with the City of London.

[…] From what I can gather, there's no denial that Whitworth's pay package has not been ratified, but the Trial Committee was somehow convinced that it's not an "impeachable offence" and more of a "housekeeping" matter.
The union's "housekeeping" is a matter for the union, but what about the City's role in negotiating irregular remunerations to individuals above and beyond the collective agreements it negotiates with the union? So far, the failure of London's major news outlets to cover the story has not prompted the nuisance required for the City to even acknowledge any irregularities, but should the Trial Committee find that it accepts the allegations — whether or not it considers them impeachable offences under union regulations — the London Free Press might at least finally find itself with the excuse, if not the gumption, it apparently needs to start reporting on them.

As always, updates on this story will first be found at AltLondon.

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Fashion for Dumb Celebrities

Via Powerline, ht: The Broom.

In another characteristically uncouth moment, Rosie features her angelic child in a short video clip designed to appeal to our emotions rather than our rationality.

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The Simultaneous Celebration Of Nothing And Everything

Did you know that today, June 27, is Multiculturalism Day? At least, it's been so designated by the cultural imperialists of the Multicultural Culture. In my own less privileged culture, today, June 27, was once known as Kieslowski Day. We are seething with rage about this preemption. The multicultural culture has co-opted this day for its own purposes.

My culture comprises the traditions, beliefs, and traditional tribal hatreds of the billions of cells that form my physical body. We will not be denied our ancient, honourable ways.

My people's Multiculturalism Day celebrations involve being actively non-multicultural. What infuriates my people the most is that, paradoxically, this only serves to make us the purest devout multiculturalists possible. On this day, we take every opportunity to promulgate the ways of our people as superior to the stupid and boring traditions of all others -- for example, the random nonsense that you happen to practice or hold to. You really take that stuff seriously? Ha ha ha!

From some unenlightened, uneducated, blinkered points of view this is bigotry. But with every spat out mouthful of weird food and every mocked traditional dance step, we find ourselves becoming more multicultural than ever. In fact, against our own desires, we provide a vital contribution to the great mosaic by showing that multiculturalism can stretch beyond the limitations imposed upon it by the self-privileging cultural imperialism of official multicultural culture.

It drives my people mad to become ever more multicultural the more we despise other cultures, like an ant struggling to escape a Venus Fly Trap but only stimulating it to close faster. Our resentment blinds us. We only know and care that these are our traditions. You will show respect. At very least, you will be silent and endure our traditional contempt for your most important values (snigger), without exposing your bigotry and hatred by engaging in culturally inappropriate, ignorant contradiction of this evaluation.

Sheila Copps is among those celebrating my people's tradition of not celebrating other peoples' traditions. She also celebrates the other, inferior traditions that combine with my own to make up our mosaic of touchiness.

For the past five years, this day has been designated as Canadian Multiculturalism Day, the bridge between historic and modern Canada.
So go ahead and celebrate celebrating or not celebrating multiculturalism. Or don't. Or, if you've been educated to the point of being able to hold two mutually contradictory ideas in your head at once, then really get into the spirit of the day and do both! Good times. Come on!

Dr Sanity:
Why... would universal brotherhood--or even peaceful coexistence for that matter--result from a dogma that is antithetical to the concept of the universalism of human experience that is the bedrock of civilization; and instead glorifies culturalnand tribal differences, no matter how insane or irrational, violent or destructive are the cultural practices or beliefs that bring about those differences?

Multiculturalism teaches that what is truly important above all else is belonging to one's sexual, racial, ethnic, or religious identity, and not that one also belongs to the family of humankind. If the former is held superior, then "social withdrawal" from community and a pervasive distrust of other groups follows quite naturally.

The only "universal" that is shared under such circumstances is a committment to disharmony and, lurking beneath the overt moral relativism, is a grandiose sense of entitlement from each group as it jockeys for postion in the victimhood status heirarchy.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Union/City Hall corruption scandal festers

According to AltLondon, printing of the London Civic Employees CUPE Local 107's new collective agreement with the City, ratified in April 2006, has been delayed…

…presumably because the agreement appears to have already been contravened, both by the City and by the Local's president, Tim Whitworth. AltLondon is also reporting that a CUPE union trial committee's decision is expected tomorrow on these allegations:

A written complaint by a union steward of London Civic Employees CUPE Local 107, which represents London's 520 outside workers, alleges that its president Tim Whitworth signed secret remuneration agreements with the City on two occasions to pay him $6 an hour ($240 weekly) above and beyond his hourly rate as set by the City's and the union's last collective agreement, as well as an additional weekly salary of $105.80 to compensate him for "loss of opportunity for acting [supervisor] pay."

Whitworth, whose former job with the City was as a "leading tree trimmer," allegedly struck the deal to pay him a weekly salary on top of his hourly wages with Larry Allen, contract manager of the City's Human Resources department, on January 14, 2005 backdated to November 1, 2004 when he took office. It is not known who approved the extra $6 hourly rate of pay. The additional compensation amounts to approximately $17,980 per annum, or about $44,300 since Whitworth became the local's president.
More details can be found at AltLondon.

Whether the City is withholding an investigation into management's irregular dealings with Whitworth pending outside confirmation of the allegations or whether it is waiting for the issue to become a public nuisance, the local media has been profoundly mute.

Update, June 27 2007: Butch McLarty from AltLondon leaves the following comment:
The Trial Committee is expected to make a decision/recommendation today and I'll post what I learn about it on Alt-London when and if I hear about it.

But don't expect much from this five-member Kangaroo Court, as President Whitworth of CUPE Local 107 managed to manipulate who sat on the five-member Trial Committee -- and four members are required by secret ballot vote to find someone "guilty."

How did he do this? Whitworth managed to put two of his pals on the committee by challenging potential committee members he didn't like by stating that he would be calling them as witnesses. He never called these individuals as witnesses, so the selection process was tainted and an objection may have been filed in this regard.

What I've heard to date is that Whitworth's supporters on the Trial Committee are saying that his transgressions, if any, are not an "impeachable offense." Tainting the collective bargaining process, however, and burning the taxpayers at the same time is a very serious matter. It's far more than an internal union matter.

Regardless of what is recommended or found by the Trial Committee, the following is true:

1. Paying any union member, let alone the president of a union local, outside the terms and provisions of a duly negoitated collective agreement is unheard of and contrary to labour law. Since November 1, 2004, President Whitworth has been receiving a weekly salary over and above the collective agreement (union members don't receive a salary, but an hourly rate) and also a rate of pay $6 an hour higher than as specified in the collective agreement for the dedicated union president. As a result, during the past 31-32 months, Whitworth has received more than $44,000 over and above the collective agreement, money taxpayers shouldn't being paying for, but are. The City of London wants this story to go away bigtime and are acting like ostriches in this regard.

2. Alt-London stands 100 per cent behind its story and while we've heard rumblings from the usual dipshits down at city hall that "Alt-London is going to be sued," not a single person has contacted us to challenge our facts. The sole rationale that we've heard from an elected official to justify Whitworth's pay package is, "that he's a nice guy." Incredible, isn't it?

3. Despite the fact that this story has been posted on Alt-London since April 27, 2007 and been viewed more than 3,200 times (and sent to council members and the supporting documentation given to Jonathan Sher on May 4), to our knowledge the City of London has done nothing to rectify the situation and the Free Press spiked Sher's story about it for reasons unknown. Managing Editor Joe Ruscitti has discussed this story on the Free Press blog (archived), with his last pitiful comment of "we're working on it" speaking volumes about the Free Press.

4. The Trial Committee's findings-recommendations go to CUPE Local 107's executive committee on July 4. It is believed that the general membership of CUPE Local 107 will also have input into this matter at at a later date, so this is an ongoing story.
Note: The comments by London Free Press Managing Editor Joe Ruscitti's to which Mr. McLarty alludes can be found here (scroll down to the post "Compact, but not too compact" and select "show comments").

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What Really Happened In The Middle East

HT Mitchieville for this overview of the modern history of that .0017'th of the Middle East known as Israel.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

No Unity, If It Has U


Why is divisiveness a bad thing? Why is "unity" always a good? Aren't the "issues that divide us" precisely where our principles and passions lie?

Are progressives trying to smuggle a more insidious concept into public discourse by using the word "divisive" as an insult?
Update: G-bob:
Upton writes that this is the greatest danger of postmodernism: "that in its understandable attempt to avoid totalitarian ideologies, it is storing up in the collective unconscious, through its own 'totalitarian relativism', a deep desire for the lost Unity which was once provided by religion, metaphysics, and the intellectual intuition of God. When our exhaustion with chaos and relativism reaches a breaking-point -- which will also be the point when our ability to recognize the true, objective, metphysical Unity is most deeply eroded -- then our unconscious desire for that Unity will explosively emerge. And the one who can best fulfill this desire, on a global level -- no matter how unrealistic his promises are, since our collective sense of reality will then be at its lowest ebb -- will step into the role of Antichrist"

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Cameron Diaz is, like, so politically aware

Fearless actress and sage, Diaz boldly displays her political beliefs to the ignorant masses of Peru.

AGUAS CALIENTES, Peru (June 23) - Actress Cameron Diaz appears to have committed a major fashion faux pas in Peru. The voice of Princess Fiona in the animated "Shrek" films may have inadvertently offended Peruvians who suffered decades of violence from a Maoist guerrilla insurgency by touring here Friday with a bag emblazoned with one of Mao Zedong's favorite political slogans.

While [she] explored the Inca city of Machu Picchu high in Peru's Andes, Diaz wore over her shoulder an olive green messenger bag emblazoned with a red star and the words "Serve the People" printed in Chinese on the flap, perhaps Chinese Communist leader Mao's most famous political slogan.

"Those little Peruvian people are, like, so uninformed. Don't they, like, realize that capitalism is, like, totally wrong? I flew all the way down here from Hollywood to shit in the woods of their backwards little country, and share some of my wealth with them, and they have the nerve to criticize what I'm wearing!"

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Spread The Wealth

Don't worry, ad agencies, there's Green for you in this fake-ass crisis too!

Maybe David Suzuki can illuminate and levitate light bulbs through sheer awareness-power, but I am fallen, a denier, no less, and I have to rely on the old fashioned environmentally unfriendly methods. I would just end up dropping the bulb on my floor, and having to vacuum up all that mercury and dump it in my compost heap. What a hassle!

Maybe David Suzuki could come by my house and teach me how to run my air conditioner like that non stop this summer. Maybe if someone dangled some green technology research money in front of me, I could learn to care hard enough and visibly enough to teach you how to do it too.

If not, I guess I'll just have to use my share of Ontario Hydro. I plan to use the hell out of it this summer, to celebrate humankind's amazing technical achievement of controlling the indoor climate. Will you join me?

Let's go full blast, Ontario! You have the power, and you're going to pay for it anyways, so stay cool!

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

The BBC Gathers Intelligence For Terrorists

Last night the BBC confirmed the wording of the request was: "Are you in Iraq? Have you seen any troop movements? If you have any information you would like to share with the BBC, you can do so using the form below."
"And by the way, if you've got a teatime tip or two on the location or travel schedule of the apostate Rushdie, and the number and disposition of crusader guards protecting his life, why don't you jolly well pass it on anonymously to our reporters? And don't forget, we're still looking for insight into airport security training procedures!"

Via Belmont Club.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Ferrous City

Fake iron trees dotting London's landscape…

Update: Mike here. Contemplate the multi-layered profundity of a dirigiste city council trying their gol-darndest to stimulate ersatz economic growth with ersatz plant life, in a city once known for the real things. Here is what some of the chunks of iron look like in their temporarily pre-rust, pre-vandalism state.

Two of the three things to the left are trees that look like lamp posts. The other is a lamp post that looks like a tree. Below, a yellow tree lends an unwelcome hint of autumnal decay and civic regret to the Covent Garden Market.

The John Labatt Centre: no growth, in the red.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Ban! Mandate! Require!

Back in Mark Twain's day, as in our own, everybody used to complain about the weather. But in those long-ago days of intolerance and closed-minded bigotry, activists claiming to be able to control the weather for the low low price of... would have been tarred and feathered and laughed at as madmen or mountebanks before being run out of town.

In our more tolerant and high-tech scientific age, we have shaken off those blinders as we gradually return to the wisdom of our cave-dwelling tribal warrior ancestors. We are increasingly back in touch with the ancient mysteries of the weather gods. Indeed, the vast majority of humans and proto-humans who have ever lived would fully agree with our educated and scientifically sophisticated population that the weather is controlled by experts -- or rather, by experts who propitiate the weather spirits by ordering peasants around in ways known to please the capricious supernatural powers that direct the energies of wind, water, earth, and fire. Who are we, who have never walked a mile in his sandals, to say Neanderthal man was wrong?

Whether those gods are known as Zeus, Baal, Zephyr, Climatemodel, Mextli, or Tlaloc, we humans know in our hearts that weather is the result of, and (to those with eyes to see) a divine commentary upon, the state of our ritual cleanliness as a society. With this in mind, how can climate change not be our fault?

To that extent let us take up the sword of faith and compel the selfish bastards around us to increase their ritual cleanliness. You cannot save the earth without breaking a few eggs. Let us rid ourselves and others of the filth and shame of work, acquisition, self-ownership, and consumption, and step forward into the bright light of prehistory where to be commanded is to be loved. And let us be loved not only by those whose heavy burden it is to take from us in defence of Earth; not only by our fellow happy Edenic peasants; not only by our animal friends; but most of all by the great weather spirits whose rage we have aroused with our selfish consumption. Consider the following demand, which is much more in line with the common historical social practices that please the gods (and the experts who speak for them) much more than our own highly irregular and unprecedented so-called "freedoms":

Develop an individual- or family-based rationing system for selected carbon-intense activities like airline travel or even car travel. Rationing is a more democratic way of restricting consumption than taxation.
Restricting others' selfish desires doesn't just feel good -- it is demanded by the very survival of the planet. Let us progress together in rage against the machine. Let us ban, mandate, and require.

Mandatory energy audits for all. That would be totally super cool and awesome, like when you can fit the classes from all five of your courses into four days and get a weekday off.

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Where's Lisa?

In case anyone is wondering, I haven't stopped blogging. I had to leave home for a while due to a family emergency and instead of ranting about hypocritical rock stars and corrupt politicians, I've been passing the time in the kitchen. I'll be back soon, but in the meantime, you can find me here.

cp: Dust my Broom and Mitchieville

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Dwarf Fortress

I'm a little late to this party, but the authors of the hilarious roguelike satire-game "Liberal Crime Squad" ("A satirical console-based political role-playing/strategy game in which you recruit a team of Elite Liberal radicals and try to save the United States from a descent into Arch-Conservatism.") have put out an ambitious new quasiroguelike project called "Dwarf Fortress". Here it is in its extended ASCII glory:

If that doesn't get your downloading fingers moving, then I envy your ability to resist the lure of the roguelike. I am powerless. This kind of thing is crack to me, so please excuse me for the evening.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

When Guns Are Outlawed...

... only the Tupac Al-Shakur Martyrs' Brigade will have guns.

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Is it BBC or the Onion?

Since when do Muslim women complain about oppression?

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

"Crank the heat in the pool Tipper, we're still cool!"

Al Gore need not worry that his jet setting life-style is melting Kilimanjaro's ice caps:

Rising nearly four miles from the plains of eastern Tanzania, Kilimanjaro has seen its glaciers decline steadily for well over a century — since long before humans began pumping large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, Mote points out.

. . .

Also, recent data from Kilimanjaro show temperatures on the 19,340-foot volcano never rise above freezing. So melting triggered by a warmer atmosphere can't be the reason the small summit ice sheet is retreating about 3 feet a year, said Georg Kaser, co-author of the new article and a glaciologist at the University of Innsbruck in Austria.

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Put The Burka On Before I Quote A Sura With My Fist

Update: This will make you feel better:

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Free, As In Speech

From Oliver Kamm's "The Tyranny of Moderation: Respect and Civility are the Enemies of Free Speech":

The notion that free speech, while important, needs to be held in balance with the avoidance of offence is question-begging, because it assumes that offence is something to be avoided. Free speech does indeed cause hurt – but there is nothing wrong in this. Knowledge advances through the destruction of bad ideas. Mockery and derision are among the most powerful tools in that process...

It is inevitable that those who find their deepest convictions mocked will be offended, and it is possible (though not mandatory, and is incidentally not felt by me) to extend sympathy and compassion to them...

The debate has not been aided – it has indeed been severely clouded – by an imprecise use of the term ‘respect’. If this is merely a metaphor for the free exercise of religious and political liberty, then it is an unexceptionable principle, but also an unclear and redundant usage. Respect for ideas and those who hold them is a different matter altogether. Ideas have no claim on our respect; they earn respect to the extent that they are able to withstand criticism...

Beyond this is a pragmatic question. If those with deeply held convictions find they receive compensation for injured feelings, then mental hurt is what they will seek out. As one group succeeds, then others will perceive the incentive to fashion comparable demands...

All HT David Thompson.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Adjusting the bread-to-circus ratio

Frank Furedi, via Alice the Camel:

Are politicians responding to popular demand for more celebrity culture or are they simply attempting to gain legitimacy through their association with glamorous and not-so-glamorous people? Whatever the answer, the casual manner with which elected public figures defer to unelected celebrities indicates that they possess a feeble sense of their own authority. Their embrace of celebrity culture is testimony to a reluctance to engage with the big questions of our time. So it is not surprising that at a time when Western societies find it so difficult to endow everyday life with meaning and purpose, people are drawn towards the lives of celebrities. In a world bereft of official leaders or heroes, people make do with personalities.

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Twenty Years Ago: Tear Down This Wall

June 12, 1987.

We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace.

General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
Posted with a straight no chaser Irish whiskey toast to Ronald Reagan.

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Adscam history - CBC Style

This is the way the CBC remebers Adscam ... not as a corrupt Liberal Party but as a Liberal Party painted corrupt by the opposition:

The sponsorship program, now defunct, was designed to raise the federal
government's profile in the wake of the 1995 sovereignty referendum in Quebec.
Over its life, Liberal-friendly ad firms in that province took in millions of
taxpayers' dollars.

Some of the money ended up in the pockets of high-ranking Liberal
organizers in Quebec, allowing the opposition to paint the government of former prime minister Jean Chrétien as corrupt.

Poor Jean Chretien... he was treated so unfairly... why everyone knows that he and his buddies never got a dime. And Paul Martn knew nothing about it .... nor did Dion or Tobin or Copps....

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Saturday, June 9, 2007

A Bitchin' Bee sting!

Buried underneath the plethora of stories about Michael Moore, The Free Press today featured a "special report" on housing development in the city. It seems the activist, anti-growth crowd has a new nickname at city hall: Killer B's.

The Bs are Joni Baechler, Judy Bryant, Gina Barber and Nancy Branscombe.
These four members on council all sit on the planning committee and are determined to place as many roadblocks to new development as possible to stall new housing in London. They are all supporters of "smart growth" policies that lead to astronomical housing prices and economic stagnation. What is perplexing is that Nancy Branscombe is considered to be on the right wing of council:

Ward 6's Branscombe chuckles when she's described as anti-growth aligned with the left-wing faction on council.

In fact, Branscombe is a political and fiscal conservative who ran for the Canadian Alliance and the Reform party.

Just because Branscombe was a candidate for a right-wing party ten years ago doesn't mean that she hasn't change her beliefs along the way. Someone could have brainwashed her to buy into this activist, "smart growth" agenda.

The hypocrisy of Branscombe is obvious when this fact is stated:
"You can't be building out everywhere as we're doing, it's not sustainable," said Branscombe, a real estate broker who depends on a booming housing market for her income.
Well Nancy, best not to bite the hand that feeds you. Or sting it for that matter!

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Friday, June 8, 2007


Gates of Vienna:

  1. Materialism is not about matter, but about suppressing ideas.
  2. Communism is not about common wealth, but about depriving people of any personal possessions.
  3. Socialism is not about society, but about depriving people of the means of production.
  4. Human rights are not personal rights, but collective obligations.
  5. Tolerance is not about mutual respect, but about the prohibition of opinions.

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Thursday, June 7, 2007


Gods of the Copybook Headings: We Are All Red Tories Now

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Bono preaches from his lofty and lonely pulpit

Stephen Harper might be scary, but to his credit, he has rejected Bono's blatant lobbying attempts at this year's G8 summit:

After meeting with Mr. Bush, Bono praised the U.S. president for announcing plans last week to pour US$30-billion over five years into Africa to fight AIDS.

But Mr. Harper appears to sing from a different songbook.

The celebrity trio has requested to meet with the prime minister several times over the last few days, but has received no response from the Prime Minister's Office, said Taylor Thompson, a spokeswoman for DATA, an aid organization co-founded by Bono and Geldof.

Mr. Thompson said Canadians are known as "great, generous people," but Mr. Harper's team "is not currently doing them justice."
Until such time as it is conclusively determined that Harper is to blame for the decline in generous taxspenders because he declines to meet with rock stars turned activists, hit control + alt + delete or alternately, apple + esc + option.

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Useful idiots

1961      British lawyer, Peter Benenson, launches an Appeal for Amnesty '61 with the publication of an article, "The Forgotten Prisoners" in The Observer newspaper, London, United Kingdom (UK), on May 28th. The imprisonment of two Portuguese students who had raised their wine glasses in a toast to freedom moved Benenson to write this article which proved to be the genesis of AI. The appeal was reprinted in other papers across the world.
A fascinating article in last month's Quadrant magazine debunks Amnesty International's innocuous 1961 "creation myth" and details its actual genesis in Cold War era Communist politics. The author, Claudio Véliz, was a student in London between 1952 and 1956 and a close working associate of Alec Digges. Digges was an Irish member of both the British Labour Party and the Communist Party of Ireland, as well as being a prime mover of the International Brigade Association's campaign to release political prisoners of Spain's Franco regime — a mission inspired by Digges' own participation with the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War, a volunteer fighting force recruited, armed and led by the Soviet Comintern. Digges' efforts to enlist the active and official support of the British Labour Party for his campaign were rebuffed because of the party's "policy of non-cooperation with communist front organizations" — an affiliation that socialist democratic parties were understandably sensitive about at the time.

Although reluctant at first, it was Digges and not Benenson who realized the potential of diversifying the Brigade Association's appeals in order to "dilute the communist flavour." American cooperation with the Franco regime for the purpose of obtaining Cold War military bases in Spain provided a pretext that was perfectly aligned with Soviet objectives:
Alec saw the battle lines redrawn with stark clarity, with the victims of capitalist and imperialist oppression all over the world on one side, and the United States and its allies, including Spain, on the other. Given such a contest, he realised that to undertake the defence of the Spanish freemasons had been timely as well as symbolically correct because it opened the door for victims of injustice everywhere, but especially in countries friendly to the United States, to join his former comrades-in-arms in Spanish prisons in a grand international coalition of the oppressed whose plight, when efficiently publicised, would bring embarrassment and opprobrium to the adversaries of the Soviet Union. The conclusion appeared to him inescapable that the International Brigade Association should put its experience at the service of the greater cause.

Alec briefed me before each of my trips to Spain and I reported to him on my return. These meetings afforded ample opportunity to discuss matters such as these, but never before and never again did he express himself on this issue with greater clarity and vehemence than on one particular evening in 1954, late in November, when Peter Benenson and I found ourselves by chance at 2 Parton Street WC1, the Brigade Association’s headquarters, an address that merits a commemorative plaque as the foundation site of Amnesty International.

It was there, over an awful lot of coffee and cigarettes, some Irish whiskey and a surfeit of spirited discussion, that for the very first time, as far as I can remember, Alec explained in some detail his plan for a new initiative that under the name “Amnesty International” would bring together the call for a general amnesty for prisoners in Spain originally adopted at the Brigade’s 1952 Annual General Meeting, the appeal for amnesty made by López Raimundo in his first public declaration issued from Mexico, the definitive internationalism rousingly proclaimed in the communist battle-hymn, the Internationale, and, most significantly, what he sincerely believed to be the robust and continuing international commitment both of the old Comintern and of the new Cominform.
The apparent objectives of Amnesty International and other similarly humanitarian organizations are regarded as so innately decent that scrutiny of their origins, aims and activities is somehow vulgar and tends to be voluntarily suppressed — which makes one wonder how many NGOs were created out of similar imperatives or sympathies. The history of Amnesty International could help to explain its disproportionate focus on American and Israeli abuses, and could also possibly shed some light on its strong affinities to the United Nations and other organizations under its auspices, as well as its preference for a regime of activism promoted by NGOs that are generally either unaccountable to or unaccounted by the public.
Even in 1954 Alec was unwittingly ahead of his time with such an imaginative proposal for tapping the reserves of humanitarian decency in the countries of the American alliance in order to undermine its moral authority.
The entire article is highly recommended reading, with interesting insights into the politics of social democratic parties of the time as well as the Soviet Union's role in the Spanish Civil War. But what is of particular interest is the discussion of the strategy of recruiting and employing non-Communist (and even anti-Communist) actors to achieve Communist political objectives by taking advantage of the psychological need for overarching "righteous" causes in atomized, individualistic and democratic societies — a strategy developed in large part by a man named Willi Münzenberg, a protégé of Lenin's and director of the Soviet Comintern’s propaganda combine through the 20s and 30s. It was this strategy of enlisting the benevolent but careless humanitarian sympathies of Western dupes — what Lenin reportedly called "useful idiots" or "deaf-mutes" — to cover for independent pro-Communist fronts that was the direct or almost direct inspiration for Digges' Amnesty International initiative, according to Véliz. And despite the collapse of upper-case-C Communism in the Soviet Union, it's a strategy that is being used to ever greater effect today, propelling itself without any deliberate control through the sheer momentum of fashionable humanitarianism.
Münzenberg perceived, almost intuitively, that societies experiencing the warm secular embrace of industrial modernity were afflicted by a critical depletion of that moral justification which is “one of our deepest needs, one of our most powerful and essential human drives, ignored at our cost and peril”. Lacking any formal knowledge of theology, history or sociology, he understood in practice the importance of “righteousness” in human life. Correctly perceiving the dearth of this definitive ingredient among the middle and upper strata of Western European society, he deployed his formidable propaganda machine to the task of producing a sufficiency of convincing, immaculate and soul-enhancing righteous causes to fill the vacuum.

Münzenberg correctly guessed that once a suitable cause had been hammered onto the public consciousness, it would not be difficult to lure his “innocents” — earlier and more brutally dubbed “useful idiots” by Lenin — to contribute their names, prestige and funds to well-organised “innocents’ clubs” manipulated into delivering the desired result by strategically placed activists, preferably not members of the Communist Party. Those invited to join and ostensibly to lead these organisations were invariably well-intentioned, socially respectable personages eager to play a constructive role in the struggle for social justice while satisfying their need for personal moral justification and “who had no idea that their consciences were being orchestrated by operatives of Stalin’s government”.

With hindsight one can now see that the ease with which Alec Digges, an experienced and disciplined member of the Communist Party, was prepared in 1954 to discuss with us the possible creation of Amnesty International, meant either that the idea was very much his own, or that he was simply adding “prisoners of conscience” to Münzenberg’s pre-war repertoire of deserving causes.

… Even in 1954 Alec was unwittingly ahead of his time with such an imaginative proposal for tapping the reserves of humanitarian decency in the countries of the American alliance in order to undermine its moral authority. However, his idea was certainly well attuned to the changes that came in the wake of Khrushchev’s 1956 “secret speech” at the Twentieth Congress, especially the Cold War resurrection of the spirit of the defunct Comintern and Cominform, but this time soaring on rhetorical wings that ignored world revolution, but called on the faithful “to take the lead in resisting the plans of American imperialist expansion and aggression in all spheres”.

It is also possible that by shouldering this simple non-revolutionary and anti-American latter-day task, Alec inadvertently kept alive the original intent of the Cominform and provided a practical goal for one of Münzenberg’s inspired propaganda initiatives. Like the Cheshire cat, the Cominform was gone, but its anti-American smirk remained very much with us and, for example, it is not impossible to suspect that an unintended and distant consequence of Münzenberg’s seminal initiative has been to enable the post-Cominform enthusiasts to respond to the anti-American directive by extending the repertoire of “righteousness” and organise worthy campaigns in favour of peace, freedom, trees, polar bears, democracy, the ozone layer and the compassionate treatment of illegal immigrants and against racial discrimination, obesity, globalisation, capital punishment, forced labour and torture. The Cold War experience would also have confirmed Münzenberg’s conviction that waged urbi et orbi, such campaigns would be ignored inside a communist world undisturbed by a free press and public opinion, but would undermine the moral status of policies advanced by the United States and its allies.
For more on Münzenberg, whose contribution to 20th century political history is incredibly neglected, see also Stephen Koch's informative 1993 article in the New Criterion, Lying for the truth: Münzenberg & the Comintern. As an interesting aside related to the subject of Western, especially American and German, support and rescue of Soviet industrial and military expansion, see Harold Pease's testimony before the Constitutional Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate's Judiciary Committee in 1979 — although it refers mostly to active and deliberate contributions, there are some interesting quotes on Lenin's attitudes toward the "deaf-mutes."

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Hitchens and Roberts Debate Religion On Hugh Hewitt

Wow. Hugh Hewitt had Christopher Hitchens, author of "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything" on for three hours this week, debating the existence of a deity, and the effects of belief in the same, with theologian and frequent Hewitt guest Mark D. Roberts, author of "Can We Trust The Gospels?". And, yes, these podcasts are without commercials.

This is a treat:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Tell me again how there would be nothing but trash on the air if it weren't for "public" broadcasting. I defy anyone to find anything on Canadian airwaves of the intellectual caliber that national Salem hosts like Hewitt bring every day.

Public Broadcasting Is Not Great.

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Cigarettes: Bringing People Together Since 1734

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Road Rage

Buckle up, obey the speed limits, purchase a hybrid, and refrain from consuming alcohol before getting behind the wheel, but you'll still be paying for other's recklessness if the current and aspiring regimes have their way.

Apparently, road fatalities in Ontario have increased since last year. Politicians are always eager to "do something" about the latest statistical information generated and regurgitated by those looking to justify their wages. In this instance, the essentially indistinguishable Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrats are all pondering tougher regulations for speed racing (very loosely defined), considering the reintroduction of photo radar and proposing mandatory speed limiters for transport trucks.

Freedom Party of Ontario leader Paul McKeever exposes the race toward limitation:

"This proposal is not about the environment. If the government wanted to do something for the environment, it would rethink making it so much cheaper to put thousands of exhaust-spewing trucks on publicly-funded roads than to put more cars behind a single engine on privately-funded rails.

"Let's be frank. Most of the large trucking companies pushing for the 105 KpH limiters already use the limiters. These companies want to squeeze out their competitors. Witness that the Canadian Trucking Alliance's resolution in favour of the 105 KpH limiter law was said in part to be for the purpose of establishing 'fair competition'. Most business people realize this is weasel talk, meaning 'less competition', and that is clearly why the Alliance could not bring itself to mention of 'fair competition' in its press release concerning the resolution, instead hiding behind feigned concern for the public and driver health.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The dangers of hockey hair

I was beginning to think hockey season took place year round these days, but I've happily discovered that it could end tonight if Ottawa loses to that other team. I used to enjoy football, and hockey too, but such contests have since come to represent a kind of madness to me. I still recall that as a youth, I would know how the Boston Bruins were faring from the shouts or crashes coming from my brother's room. Then I moved from the country to the city where fans spill out into the street and disturb the public peace by honking their horns and obstructing traffic should their team win. Soccer cultists are more menacing, but it's a soap opera nonetheless when people take a game so seriously they are inclined to smash in a face or expend senseless amounts of carbon.

I'd be scalped if I posted this over at The Broom, so I won't. Instead, I'll disrupt the status quo by speaking out at Mitchieville. They appreciate activists more. I didn't care until now, but I'm voting for public peace. I'm voting for that other team so the minorities can get some sleep.

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Increased gravitational effect observed in London

This week in London:

Given the quality of the political celebrities galloping through London lately, the current trend can only be described as alarming.

All we need now is for David Suzuki to make another quick stop in his old hometown… if he remembers it.

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Onion News Network

Special report on immigration:

And more political incorrectness:

Thanks to Little Tobacco for pointing the way to the Onion News Network, as professional and plausible a source as the regular Onion broadsheet.

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It's official! Sicko is bringing his carbon spewing entourage to London Ontario

Restaurants across the city are anxiously awaiting Micheal Moore's arrival this coming Friday.

London is getting the first big look at Sicko on Friday night at 7 p.m., The Free Press has learned.

Controversial Michigan director Michael Moore's much-anticipated documentary on the U.S. health-care system will be shown at SilverCity (Masonville Place) in a significant first-look North American screening, well before its general release or screenings at galas elsewhere.

The film's Canadian distributor, Alliance Atlantis, is calling the London screening "the Canadian premiere screening."

Moore and others involved are to be here in London during the afternoon on Friday. The screening will be followed by a private reception.
I'm stepping out for a bit, so leave your impressions of a media created dignitary in comments here.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The vision in revision

When I was a boy, we had to walk five miles to school, uphill both ways, in four feet of snow with newspaper on our feet because only the oldest child in a family of twelve brothers and sisters had shoes… and that was in July!

Aside from the obvious advantage of being able to make it up as you go, anecdotal evidence is a compelling persuasion tool in support of dubious positions quite simply because most people, disarmed by the familiar use of a commonplace and pedestrian rhetorical gimmick, tend to exchange judgment for sympathy and unconsciously accommodate the anecdotes into their own recollections. Given the generally amiable if sometimes careless dispositions of people, it's a surprisingly rational substitution for argument and scrutiny… that is, unless you're Ross McKitrick, associate professor of economics at the University of Guelph, happening in to tune into David Suzuki's interview on TVOntario's Studio 2 in April, 2003:

I didn’t watch much of the interview, but what caught my attention was the claim by Mr. Suzuki that when he was a boy growing up in London Ontario, winter used to set in at the end of October, but now it’s warmed up so much winter arrives a lot later.

[…] I don’t think much of running trend lines through averaged temperature data as a way of measuring “climate,” but this is how the debate often gets framed. And it shows the October-November average temperature in London fell from 1940 to 1990 at a rate of -0.2 degrees Celsius per decade. “Fell,” as in cooling. As in, October and November are now colder, on average, than when Dr. Suzuki was a lad awaiting winter in London. The annual average also shows cooling, at about 0.1 degrees C per decade.

(Plot taken from Station of the Week — click on image to see full-size plot)

McKitrick goes on to make an interesting aside:
Incidentally it is a real annoyance that Environment Canada no longer gives its temperature data away. Almost all the Canadian weather stations reporting into the NASA data base stopped releasing the post-1990 numbers for free use by the public. You are expected to pay for it now. This is a government that brags about spending billions of dollars on climate change initiatives …
Thanks to Blue Marble Climate for pointing this out.

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Ottawa to reward insurgency in Caledonia

The insurgents of Caledonia have been offered $125 million from the Federal Government to stop their criminal occupation, but Six Nations leaders have rejected the offer saying they are more interested in the land.

Haldimand County Mayor Marie Trainer said she was hopeful for a settlement, but noted some natives at the table have said they are only interested in the land and not cash.

Last night, a Six Nations negotiator dismissed the offer and said natives have made it clear from the start of talks they only wanted land. "The only positive thing about it is it was an offer," said Mohawk Chief Allen MacNaughton.

"It being an initial offer, we realize initial offers are never accepted anyway. I guess it's a starting point to talk about things and I guess the only positive is it's obviously a recognition they owe us something."

The offer involves the settlement of four of 27 existing land claims: the former Moulton township, the flooding of lands in Dunnville to accommodate the Welland Canal, the former Burtch correctional facility in Brant County and the Grand River Navigation Co. claims.
We are thus collectively guilty and owe the Caledonia occupiers for causing them to burn telephone poles to settle their grievances.

HT: Canadian Taxpayers Federation

CP: Dust My Broom

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The hollow quest to make London a creative city

The promised metal trees slated to adorn downtown London are soon to become a reality. The first of 30 trees, mostly funded with mandatory fees paid by downtown business owners to the London Downtown Business Association, will be planted near the end of June. The cost is $200,000 and counting.

The trees are hollow metal tubes, bent to resemble trunks and the leaves are cut from sheet metal and welded on. In total, 15 different species will be on display and the first is slated to be planted June 18, with the rest taking about two weeks to be installed.

"They are all made out of the same thing. They look alike, but each one is an individual work of art," [Bill] Hodgson [the artist] said.

The trees also will come in neon green, red and blue. Four will be installed near Covent Garden Market, one in front of city hall, with others lining Dundas Street, to name a few sites.
Cyclists will be happy to know that the branches are high enough from the ground to prevent injury. Graffiti "artists" are looking forward to tagging the five meter high trees, especially as the canvases we call mailboxes are already covered with other artist's markings. An increase in tourism is not expected by rational thinking people.

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Monday, June 4, 2007

Not Dead enough

Eager to start their extended paid leave, the current gang is quickly approving arbitrary legislation at the expense of the feelings of aspiring groups:

The Liberals are quickly passing a slew of government bills, before the house rises and remains adjourned until after the October election.

Left in the wake of fast-tracked legislation are at least 107 private member bills ranging from declaring the "apple capital of Ontario" to a bill requiring people to fill out organ donation cards before renewing their driver's licences.

Such bills have survived various votes in the legislature and dissection in legislative committees, only to die on the order paper when the government adjourns the house this week – three weeks ahead of schedule.

[..] In the last week, the government has passed a bill to increase fines for street racing and another to create a child and youth advocate as it gears up for the fall vote.

The Liberals were scheduled to pass their last remaining bills late today and are expected to adjourn the legislature by Wednesday at the latest.

Also left on the legislature order paper: a bill that would require background checks for referees in amateur sport and a bill that would allow Ontario wine and beer to be sold in corner stores.

Others tackling less weighty subjects include proclaiming Archives Awareness week and naming the last Saturday in September as Outdoor Heritage Day.
Clearly, it's time to burn that paper.

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Faith without belief

Climate changeism is recognizable as a religion not only by its outward trappings, although they are legion — spiritualistic exhortations, crusades, proscriptions on behaviours, tithing in the form of offsets and taxes, proselytizing as a condition of adherence, and a hierarchy, implicit at least, of priests as well as layman apologists. But, less materialistically, it is also undeniably a faith — a vain and perverse faith, perhaps, that mankind is at once greater than the world it inhabits and and at the same time too small to adapt to it. Nevertheless, it is still a faith — that catastrophes loom over mankind for the errors of its ways and that an environment that bestows both blessings and catastrophes can be propitiated by new ways, or at least by appropriate sentiments.

Curiously, however, climate changeism is a faith without belief.

See also: Climate changeism: trial by bunkum

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The old ways are best

Perhaps this sends a clear message to troops in the field.

May Omar Khadr be the last "Canadian" war criminal caught out-of-uniform who gets to be a prisoner.

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Sunday, June 3, 2007

Dissecting Diversity

Musing on the US Immigration Reform Bill:

Of course when rich liberals want the border protected, they’re not being racist. They actually like having lots of illegals around. They just want the illegals serving their dinner and mowing their lawns. Then they expect that the illegals will go back to their houses in your neighborhood … where they belong.

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"An accomplishment of the revolution"

Latin America is where economics goes to die…

Venezuela: No, this is not a brand new refrigerator. This is the meat display at the supermarket I go to. This is a daily occurrence as they have not had meat for quite a while, as a matter of fact since at least April 20th. they have received meat twice, both times selling it in less than two hours. This had never happened in the country's history, but between land being taken over and left unused and price controls, supply has simply disappeared. There you have it, a true, real accomplishment by the revolution!
Lucky for the dogs there aren't any price controls on the row of dog food bags beneath the meat counter. [Link via Autonomous Source who features an article about energy price controls and shortages in Argentina.]

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Meet Diana Reid, one of the eggs…

So, is there anybody getting an omelet?

A reader points out this story from the Guelph Mercury. Clubhouse Donuts owner Diana Reid sold off the contents of her business this past Wednesday after the City of Guelph denied her application to renew her business permit. Public health inspectors recommended to city staff that the license not be renewed after numerous convictions for "allowing patrons to smoke and for failing to have the appropriate smoking signs on the premises." Reid bought the coffee shop to keep busy after her retirement and served willing customers. Since an anti-smoking bylaw was passed in Guelph in 2000 before the advent of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, Reid reduced her operating hours and worked the shop by herself for twelve hour days, seven days a week and with no holidays.

Does this protect a public interest? Or does it protect some people's authority to regulate other people's lives?

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Spontaneous Order(s)

Fenris is pained by the absence, nay, the nonexistence of fan fiction for Canadian-made television.

The Beachcombers, certainly one of the best television series ever made, based on the number of decades it dominated Canadian and East German television, is under-represented in the fan fiction genre. Fan fiction allows fans to explore themes considered taboo in media, such as homosexuality, immigration, and racism. So where are the stories exploring alternate sexual lifestyles on the waters around Molly's Reach? How would our Hero, Nick, react to a bungled RCMP plot to blame illegal immigrants for crime? The questions raised by the uncountably infinite number of both unrealistic and implausible alternate viewpoints of diversity demand answers.

It is time for activists to demand increases to the CBC budget. And it is time that the CBC fund activists to administer volunteers to write fan fiction.

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Saturday, June 2, 2007

Stopping the evolution of scientific research when it's convenient

A favoured way to avoid debate about global warming is to stuff ones ears with cotton, while proclaiming the issue has already been decided because there is consensus in the scientific community. Lawrence Solomon, writing for the National Post, has been chronicling the deniers and concludes diversity is in jeopardy.

Somewhere along the way, I stopped believing that a scientific consensus exists on climate change. Certainly there is no consensus at the very top echelons of scientists -- the ranks from which I have been drawing my subjects -- and certainly there is no consensus among astrophysicists and other solar scientists, several of whom I have profiled. If anything, the majority view among these subsets of the scientific community may run in the opposite direction. Not only do most of my interviewees either discount or disparage the conventional wisdom as represented by the IPCC [the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change], many say their peers generally consider it to have little or no credibility. In one case, a top scientist told me that, to his knowledge, no respected scientist in his field accepts the IPCC position.

What of the one claim that we hear over and over again, that 2,000 or 2,500 of the world's top scientists endorse the IPCC position? I asked the IPCC for their names, to gauge their views. "The 2,500 or so scientists you are referring to are reviewers from countries all over the world," the IPCC Secretariat responded. "The list with their names and contacts will be attached to future IPCC publications, which will hopefully be on-line in the second half of 2007.

An IPCC reviewer does not assess the IPCC's comprehensive findings. He might only review one small part of one study that later becomes one small input to the published IPCC report. Far from endorsing the IPCC reports, some reviewers, offended at what they considered a sham review process, have demanded that the IPCC remove their names from the list of reviewers. One even threatened legal action when the IPCC refused.
HT: Paul McKeever, leader of Freedom Party of Ontario.

Also appearing at Mitchieville because they care more than Al Gore and David Suzuki and their collective wealth combined.

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Friday, June 1, 2007

Into the city's pockets

London mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best said yesterday in Calgary that "[a]ny plan to combat low-income housing and help Canada's homeless off the streets can only succeed with the federal government's leadership."

"Municipalities alone cannot get this solved," said DeCicco-Best […]

"It (the housing problem) is not going to go away."
I'm sure that it's considered churlish to question the Orthodox Tenets of Political Problemism, but since I'm congenitally disposed to churling, here goes: Is there a problem? And whose problem is it?

Granting that some people do have a housing problem, however, there can be no reason to suppose that federal leadership would succeed where municipal and provincial problem-solving has failed despite the enormous sums those governments have thrown at it already. By federal leadership, however, DeCicco-Best and other mayors at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference this week mean precisely only more enormous sums thrown in the same futile directions — except that those sums should come out of federal tax revenue for which the mayors bear no political cost for collection and spent on projects in cities for which they can take political credit. What the mayors have in mind is a zero-sum (or close to it) redistribution of taxes but a one-sided redistribution of political opportunity. Either way, DeCicco-Best is right about one thing, however: the "housing problem" is certainly not going to go away.

The London Free Press also reports that "about half the 19-member council" is in Calgary for the conference, a trip that one Toronto councillor called "another junket without a purpose."
DeCicco-Best, however, dismissed any criticism of the trip.

"That issue comes up every year," she said. "This is how to craft our policies and . . . I can't think of anything more important than us singing from the same book.
That would be the political lobbying songbook she's speaking about, a text that for some reason cannot apparently be transmitted through emails or video conferencing. This is a particularly challenging engagement for DeCicco-Best, who ordinarily sings exclusively from the city management's songbook.

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Growing meat in a petri plate

It's no secret that Lisa is a vegetarian, but if I had to make a choice, I'd rather have the methane polluting variety on my plate. Right now I'm almost embarrassed to be vegetarian. In our Brave New World of perfect quotas, it's entirely possible that Advocacy groups will soon recommend that humans be bred in the laboratory.


Dutch researchers are trying to grow pork meat in a laboratory with the goal of feeding millions without the need to raise and slaughter animals.

"We're trying to make meat without having to kill animals," Bernard Roelen, a veterinary science professor at Utrecht University, said in an interview.

Although it is in its early stages, the idea is to replace harvesting meat from livestock with a process that eliminates the need for animal feed, transport, land use and the methane expelled by animals, which all hurt the environment, he said.

"Keeping animals just to eat them is in fact not so good for the environment," said Roelen. "Animals need to grow, and animals produce many things that you do not eat."
It is rumoured that our comrades in Britain are considering a more progressive solution to the problem of waste. HT: SDA.
Secret plans to encourage the nation to give up eating meat are being examined by the Government.

A leaked e-mail expresses sympathy for the environmental benefits of a mass switch to a vegan diet - a strict form of vegetarianism which bans milk, dairy products and fish.

The change would need to be done "gently" because of a "risk of alienating the public", according to the document.

The extreme policy is being examined on the basis it could make a major contribution to slowing climate change.
See also, Low-fat milk, straight from the cow. Saving the planet and fighting obesity, one law at a time.

Hogging some cyberspace by cross-posting at Dust My Broom.

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What did your children learn today at school?

How to acquire a taste for the gala lifestyle of elite environmental propagandists:

From the London Free Press:

Former U.S. vice president Al Gore got the red-carpet treatment in London last night, but only those who paid $500 for dinner heard the meat of his message. Gore, the almost-president-turned environmental crusader, appeared for five hours last night, speaking at the London Convention Centre about climate change at a tightly-guarded organic dinner for a posh crowd of politicians and civic leaders.

[…] Last night's event was tightly controlled by Gore's handlers, the media allowed in only for the first five minutes of his opening remarks before being ushered out.

Reporters and photographers also were kept out of an auditorium where hundreds of school kids watched and listened to Gore speak on a live television feed. The kids won that honour after entering a contest to make one-minute films about climate change. Gore shook their hands on his way to dinner, leaving some elated.
Elation, it appears, has also become a cheap commodity. But as long as it makes children feel good about themselves, it's a lot easier than teaching them practical literacy, mathematics or science.

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Secret of success in media

Report what you want people to want to hear (link via Dust my Broom).

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Gore vs. Badwulf

Al Gore has some competition. Gore offers invisible carbon credits, but Fenris offers a comic book, that includes a tithing template to help you accurately calculate your eco-dues. If you are wondering what to do with your pennies and Canadian Tire money, just forward to Fenris for an unspecified future reward.

From the tip of the roof to the secret subterranean shrine to Set, the Snake God, the Badwulf household, so like your own, is filled with the up-gushing social consciousnessidness (some spell this word consciousnessedness be sure to enter this spelling irregularity into your user’s spelling database in your Blackberry) of the horrible implausibility of Boiling Rain. It could be coming, maybe soon, maybe never. But, oooh, what if it were true? Are your social engineers busy engineering a social solution to this neither plausible nor realistic problem? Who is responsible? What is the action plan? Where is the office space you are renting? When are cheques going to flow? Why aren’t more people concerned about what does not exist?

[..] The horrible boiling rain occurs when two hurricanes collide. The cells of the hurricanes act like zygotes and form a super hurricane. At the fearsome center of this monster of wind, clouds of water form high in the atmosphere where they absorb leaking microwave oven rays and become super heated . They fall to the earth as drops of boiling water! Aaaargh! Earth’s most vulnerable communities, of Plant-Canadians, or of Non-Burrowing Non-Egg-laying Insect-Canadians, will suffer under this ghastly future. They will Die, they may Suffer! We must act now! The poor petunia and the potato will not like boiling rain. Their friends, the petunia borer (infestans septic pestans) and the potato cockroach (Fenianianii cthulumite) would die, too. They might even suffer.

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