Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Question For Scarborough-Guildwood Candidate Ken Kirupa

Its been impossible to find a record  of  a K or a Ken Kirupa residing within the riding boundaries. The folks covering his campaign should ask him why that is.

PS. In my building we've had three fliers from Giambrone, gawdknows how many from Mitzie, 0 from Mr. Kirupa.  I am sure, based on signage, that he has his pockets of support.  But there seem to be entire polls that he has surrenedered.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Turbines For T.O.

Sunwincor International and our partners are actively engaged in planning and developing an exciting and ecologically balanced wind farm. The Leslie Wind Farm will be located on the Outer Harbour East Headland at the base of Leslie Street adjacent to Toronto, Ontario

With the help of the government of Ontario and as directed by the Green Energy Act it is our desire to begin a meaningful conversation with the local community to gain early support for this project.

Well, good luck with that:
From here.

I am a supporter of wind power, and wind power along the shores of Lake Ontario, because of course that's where the wind is.  I am not, however, confident that the provincial government has the stones to stand before the forces of NIMBYism that this project will unleash.  Rob Ford will add it to his list of things to demagogue, and Tim Hudak will see it as a another way to crack the OLP's Toronto Fortress.  On the SunWinCor site they say that the project "will be a tremendous way of showcasing Toronto as a willing host of sustainable, responsible Green Energy".  I wonder if the people of T.O. are up to that challenge.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


I've been listening to this Pink Floyd tune for years and only found out the name of it a week ago:

Hippies kill punks, forever and always.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Justin On The Herb

Its not the policy itself that might get him in trouble; I suspect that the majority of Canadians support legalizing or a least decriminalizing marijuana, and I suspect that the party brain trust has polled and focus-grouped it and knows as much.  However, its a 2nd or 3rd tier issue at best and on its own won't win too many votes. Furthermore, the Tories, as I've argued before, will try to spin it as the LPC's main or only issue.  Indeed, they are already attempting that maneuver: Justin Trudeau’s Policy Priority – Legalizing Marijuana.  So care will have to be taken to lay out the other more substantive planks in the LPC platform in a timely fashion.  Otherwise, Irie.  Oh, and as for worries about the border:

PS.  Iggy, if anyone still remembers that guy, was pro-decrim, and he was the farthest you can get from a dirty hippy.

The State Of Surface Temperatures

From Simon Donner, about as clear an explanation I've heard re the "pause" in AGW (which isn't really a "pause" in any case):

Over the past 10-15 years, the global mean surface air temperature did not increase at the rate of the previous decades. The cause of the slowdown is primarily natural variability, variability that is driven by long-term oscillations in the oceans. The planet is still adding heat - we can see in this planetary energy balance data. The difference is for the past few years, more of that heat is gathering in the deep ocean.

In a few years, the yin of deep ocean heating will give way to the yang of surface temperature warming. Among other things, we'll see full El Nino events develop again - there has not been one since the climate shifted in 1998, something my lab is studying - and with that, new global surface temperature records.

So there you have it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ottawa NDP Candidate Happy To Throw By-Election To Hudak Tories

One would like to think she's in it to win, but apparently not.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Your Daily Nazi: Nazi Treasure To Remain In Canada least for now.

I've written about Robert McCorkell (or McCorkill) a few times.  He was a  Canadian chemist with White Nationalist leanings, and when he died he bequeathed  $1,000,000 in ancient gold coins and other valuables to the National Alliance, an American hate/terror group.  The collection itself is quite impressive: ancient Libyan, Roman, and Turkish artifacts.  It would be a pity if it wound up helping to refinance American Neo-Nazis.

Behind the scenes, a number of people (including BCLSB fave Richard Warman) have been working to stop this from happening.  And it looks like they've succeeded, at least temporarily. Yesterday afternoon an injunction was obtained blocking any distribution of Robert McCorkill's estate "until further order" from the New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench.  You can see the whole thing here.  What happens now is anyone's guess.  It would be nice to see an academic institution of one sort or another adopt the collection.

Update:  CBC has a short piece up.  Apparently, the estate is worth about 1/4 of the original estimate (so: $250,000).

Bernie Farber Has Advice

Now that Jason Kenney has left his position as Minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Bernie makes some suggestions to his successor, Chris Alexander:

Refugees - Remove Hungary and Mexico from the Designated Safe Country list. This can be done immediately and without legislative reform. These designations impact vulnerable communities - ethnic minorities, the LGBTQ community and women facing gender violence. The Minister can also propose an amendment to the law to provide for an expert human rights panel to assess whether a country might be safe, rather than allow designation by statistics. And he can seek to amend the law to provide an automatic periodic review after designation and add appeal rights to persons from designated countries.

I haven't written much about Mexico in this regard.  In the case of Hungary, however, it is quite clear that the country is no longer safe for either its Roma or Jewish minorities.  What is particularly galling is the possibility that these groups are being sacrificed in the name of a Canada-EU Free Trade agreement.

Bernie also suggests:

Health Care - Change the Order in Council to restore the same health care system that has worked well since 1957. No legislative amendment is required, it can be done immediately. Institute a means test as suggested by Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care.

The kind of changes that Bernie wants rolled back were made to the Interim Federal Health Program, I believe.  These recently resulted in a mid-East refugee, who had left home because he had been persecuted for his Christian beliefs, being denied chemotherapy in this country.  As Brad Wall said at the time:

“It’s unbelievable that some of the decisions that have been taken federally are having this impact on people who are clearly the most vulnerable, refugees who are obviously fleeing something quite terrible — that’s why they’re refugees..."

“On the face of it, you just consider the case of this particular gentleman or others who, for example, as it was pointed out … might need prenatal care, this is just common sense. You just do this.

“This is the kind of country we are. You cover it.”

In this case, Saskatchewan eventually picked up the cost of treatment.  So, to prevent the poor fellow from dying, the province paid for a bad federal policy.

And Bernie's last recommendation:

Immigration - Scrap the proposed regulatory amendment to lowering the age of dependency to 18 from 22. This will affect every family applying for permanent residence in Canada. No family believes a 19 year old should be excluded from a family application and left behind.

I am not terribly familiar with these particular changes, I will leave this bit unglossed.

Bernie's  piece, incidentally, is entitled Restoring Canada’s Dignity and Respect, and the entirety of it  lies behind the Globe pay-wall.  Good luck digging it out.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Ontario By-Elections: Scott's Gut

The esteemed Scott Tribe says:

The OLP seems to be holding on a slight lead to the Toronto ridings (Scarborough and Etobicoke). They are probably ahead in Mcguinty’s old riding in Ottawa.

Windsor will go NDP unless every NDP voter down there decides not to bother showing up to the polls

The OLP is in a bit of trouble in London. I suspect the PC’s are in front here.

Scott's gut coincides with mine, at least re Scarborough T.O.  I can't see that riding flipping unless Giambrone siphons off enough votes that the place goes PCPO, and I don't think even NDP hard-cores like Giambrone.  The response I've got going door-to-door is a lot of eye-rolling: "That guy?"  So I don't believe an unexpected result is in the cards.

 Etobicoke OTOH will be interesting--an empirical test of the strength of Ford Nation.   That's the one to watch.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Mann Vs. Steyn: Mann Takes A Round

In October of last year, climate scientist Michael Mann filed suit against Mark Steyn and the National Review for a piece Steyn wrote in that publication, and against  the Competitive Enterprise Institute for a  piece that appeared earlier on its blog.  The articles in question described Mann's hockey stick graph, his reconstruction of pre-instrument  temperature records, as "fraudulent" and his work in general as "bogus", so Mann's angry response isn't surprising.

The NR and the CEI filed motions to dismiss on the grounds that their statements are protected speech under the First Amendment, mere “opinion,” “rhetorical hyperbole,” or “fair comment.”.  They also argued that Mann's action was a SLAPP suit.  At the time I wrote:

Frankly, I know of nowhere that a reader, be they careful or careless, could interpret the term "fraudulent" when applied to a scientist's work as implying anything less than that they were guilty of scientific misconduct (the kind of thing they discushere) or straight out fraud.  I am unaware of any place the term has been used  merely to state that the scientist's work is incorrect. This is quite a bit different than the situation with "blackmail", where there is an established colloquial sense that is weaker than the more precise legal sense (the colloquial sense does not entail criminality where the more legal sense does). 

The court has now ruled that the Mann action did not constitute a SLAPP suit; these are typically launched by large corporate entities against individuals, and this case did not fit that description.  And they rejected the First Amendment arguments for reasons that echo my earlier remarks:

“Given the dictionary definition as well as the common readers’ thought about the use of these words (fraud and fraudulent) the Court finds that these statement taken in context must be viewed as more than honest commentary—particularly when investigations have found otherwise. Considering the numerous articles that characterize Plaintiff’s work as fraudulent, combined with the assertions of fraud and data manipulation, the CEI Defendants have essentially made conclusions based on facts.” [at 15]

The definition of “bogus” in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, inter alia, is “not genuine . . . sham.” BOGUS, MERRIAM-WEBSTER: ONLINE DICTIONARY AND THESAURUS, http://www.merriam-webster.dictionary/  In Plaintiff’s line of work, such an accusation is serious. To call his work a sham or to question his intellect and reasoning is tantamount to an accusation of fraud (taken in the context and knowing that Plaintiff’s work has been investigated and substantiated on numerous occasions).”

So the NR and CEI articles were not opinion, but (mis)statements of fact.  Mann's suits can go forward.

Although they are far from won.  The court docs note, in regards to the National Review case, how difficult actual malice can be to prove under U.S. law. Nevertheless

Some ways to go, then, but a real possibility that Steyn and NR will be out a pantsful of money when this is all over.  A fate richly deserved, IMHO.  And in the case of the CEI, the judge's ruling (not quoted above) suggests that Mann probably will be able to show actual malice.  So they are in even deeper trouble.

PS.  As usual, the court docs are easier to read when you click on the image.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Your Daily Nazi: Son Of Stormfront

Derek Black, son of Don Black,  the former Alabama Klan leader who now runs the largest racist Web forum (Stormfront)  in the world, has renounced white nationalism.  When Don retires, Derek plans to turn the forum into an interracial dating site.  Just kidding.  But good on Derek.  I've written about Stormfront many times due to its role in stories related to the Canadian Human Rights Commision and the adventures of Richard Warman.  Here is some background for anyone who cares.

Meanwhile, Warman's court date with Connie and Mark and the anonymous posters at Free Dominon grows near.  I am informed that several anonies (Klinxx and SaskBigPicture) have thrown in the towel and settled.  The others appear to be comfortable fighting  a defamation case over statements that have been proven to be false on multiple occasions years ago.  Fools and their money, and all that.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Administering Colonial Science: Nutrition Research And Human Biomedical Experimentation In Aboriginal Communities And Residential Schools, 1942–1952

The full-text of the paper that everyone is talking about can be found here.  The researchers do not come off as being quite as reprehensible as they seem in media reports.  For example, there appears to have been some effort to use their research to refute common stereotypes:

It is not unlikely that many characteristics, such as shiftlessness, indolence, improvidence and inertia, so long regarded as inherent or hereditary traits in the Indian race may, at the root, be really the manifestations of malnutrition. Furthermore, it is highly probable that their great susceptibility to many diseases, paramount amongst which is tuberculosis, may be directly attributable to their high degree of malnutrition arising from lack of proper foods.

But there is also little question that these scientists found that having a handy group of malnourished people around was a good way of advancing their own research goals.  For example:

It was in this context that, starting in 1947, [Lionel Bradley] Pett began planning an ambitious research project using Aboriginal students as experimental subjects. Before he became the director of the Nutrition Services Division in 1941, Pett was already a well-respected scientific researcher and was the co-author of a pioneering nutritional survey of low-income families in Edmonton. He was therefore not simply aware of the divisive postwar debates among Canada’s leading nutrition experts and scientists concerning human nutritional requirements but was, in fact, a key player in these debates.52 To this end, the seemingly intractable situation in Canada’s residential schools provided Pett with an unprecedented scientific and professional opportunity. Without necessary changes to the per capita funding formula for the schools, there was little likelihood that the students’ nutritional status would improve in any meaningful way. This meant that the schools had become, through decades of neglect by Indian Affairs, a possible laboratory for studying human requirements for a range of nutrients as well as the effects of dietary interventions on a group of malnourished children.


From the perspective of Tisdall, Kruse, and the other nutrition experts involved in the study, it was clear that the levels of malnutrition witnessed at Norway House, Cross Lake, and other communities visited in 1942 were a tragedy, but also an unprecedented research opportunity. This was because, even as late as the 1940s, nutrition was still a relatively young area of scientific inquiry. Scientists only really began to understand the function of vitamins and minerals during the interwar period, and most experts readily admitted that much of  their understanding of human nutrition was based upon animal studies and had not been put to the test on human subjects in any rigorous or controlled manner.20 The late 1930s and early 1940s were also the formative period for Canada’s nutrition professions. The Canadian Council on Nutrition (CCN), an advisory body made up of the nation’s leading nutrition experts, was formed in 1938, and the Nutrition Services Division of the Department of Pensions and National Health was created in 1941 under the leadership of biochemist and medical doctor Lionel Bradley Pett, largely in response to public warnings by the CCN that upwards of 60 per cent of Canadians were suffering from some form of vitamin or mineral deficiency. While such dramatic claims brought nutrition experts into the public spotlight during the war, scientists readily admitted – to one another, at least – that they still knew very little about the relative effectiveness of vitamin and mineral supplements on malnourished populations, let alone the precise vita-min and mineral requirements of human beings. Debates over this latter issue, in particular, would lead to major internal divisions within the profession by the late 1940s and meant that experts like Tisdall and Pett were eager to test their theories on actual human subjects.

There are a number of indications that these kinds of scientific questions, more than humanitarian concerns, played a key role in defining the response to the nutritional deficiencies in Aboriginal populations encountered by the researchers. 


The experiment therefore seems to have been driven, at least in part, by the nutrition experts’ desire to test their theories on a ready-made “laboratory” populated with already malnourished human “experimental subjects.”

It is perhaps unsurprising that the settlement of Attawapiskat bulks large in the research.  That poor little town can't catch a break, and apparently never could.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Freedom Cruise Update!

With not much happening in Ottawa these days, I thought I'd check in on the state of Ezra Levant's Freedom Cruise.  And the news is...its still sucking.  But in a slightly different way:

Wildrose leader Danielle Smith has also scraped [sic] her original summer plans, including a weeklong Alaska “Freedom Cruise” organized by Sun News host Ezra Levant, to focus on the disaster recovery in High River, part of her Highwood constituency.

No worries though, true believers, the Universe remains in balance.  For while the leader of Alberta's official opposition and possible one day premier is out, she has been replaced by...some guy that used to be an MP!  Yes, Monte Solberg, once " one of the top three best speakers and most effective questioners in the House of Commons".  No doubt he'll speak of the day he left Paul Martin speechless, though in fact it turned out Martin had left his speech in the glove-box of his car.

Fun times!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Quebec Mayor Stephane Gendron Hates Israel, Hippies, And Kittens

This time around its his cat hate getting him into trouble:

According to reports, Huntingdon, Que., Mayor Stephane Gendron said that he tries to kill stray cats while driving his pick-up truck.

The SPCA is on his ass the way Meir was when he bad-mouthed Israel.  That protest set Stephane all a-grovel.  Apparently this one has him apologizing too (can't find the link, though), although it remains unclear whether he really spends his free time running over cats.

PS.  So far it looks like slagging Hippies (student protesters) gets you in less trouble than Israel bashing or cat murder when you're in Quebec.  The CBSC decision against Gendron got him off clean on that charge. Don't know if that is comforting or otherwise.

Friday, July 12, 2013

CPC Convention Rescheduled For Halloween Night

August 2nd Will Be One Helluva Hangover

As of 27 minutes ago, PCPO candidate Ken Kirupa came out pro-Scarborough subway line.

As of yesterday its become official PCPO policy ahead of the by-election in Scarborough-Guildwood. Now only the NDP is off-side, but watch Mr. Giambrone come around.  I predict within 48 hours. Which is all, frankly, madness for a set of by-elections that will have no practical consequences in the Legislature.  But whatever.  Frank Klees line:
...magically loses traction.  And, come the morning after, everyone involved feels a bit cheapened.

PS. And in the end Scarborough never gets any mass transit worthy of the name.  And maybe Rob Ford wins re-election.  And somewhere a consultant who specializes in mass transit solutions throws his back out doing a happy dance.  He knows he will have work in this town forever.

He Is Come To Scarborough

He will arrive in a silver space ship and descend in a roiling cloud of dry ice.  T-Rex will be playing in the background.  There has been some awesome food around that office lately; there may be biryani chicken.  But no promises, obviously.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Lake Athabasca "Oil Slick" Caused By Algae Bloom

FORT CHIPEWYAN, Alta. – Lab tests say a mysterious oily sheen that has covered a long stretch of the Athabasca River in northeastern Alberta is most likely from algae.

Consultants hired by the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation say the algae bloom is probably the result of high water from record-breaking rainfall combined with unusually warm temperatures.

The scientists say dead fish floating on the river probably died as a result of oxygen starvation from the out-of-control algae growth.

Emails Undeleted

Hard to figure out exactly what's going on here, at least for me. Information and Privacy Commissioner  Ann Cavoukian's statement suggests that Ministry of Government Services staff found the long-gone emails, put does not get more specific than that.  If I were to guess, I'd guess that the original computer advice she was given indeed turned out to be BS, and that while the docs were gone from peoples' hard drives, government IT guys were able to find them on their servers, which shouldn't surprise anyone and, therefore, shouldn't have surprised an information commissioner.

Not sure what this means about the culpability of the government aides who have been under the gun.  If you know stuff will be backed up on a server, than you might feel more free with the delete button when cleaning out your inbox. What is clear though is that Cavoukian's earlier statement was seriously in error, and the anger evident in last evening's statement from her is an attempt to direct attention away from that error.  As Norm Spector noted:

Yet Another Disaster You Probably Haven't Heard Of

The Eastmain fire is the largest wildfire in Canada since 1959, and is almost as big as all the wildfires that have burned in the US so far this year. Forecasts for the area show warm temperatures continuing for at least another 5 days, so the fire is likely to continue to spread.

The source of this, incidentally, are emails from a number of Canadian fire experts.  The MSM stuff I've seen on it is from a week ago.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

On Environment Ministers And Petcoke

From Impolitical:

CTV was reporting that Peter Kent may be moving on and therefore would be out as Environment Minister. Not sure there's much a new Canadian minister might do to sway the Obama administration but Keystone has got to be figuring into Harper's thinking. Is Rempel, currently the Parliamentary Secretary to Kent, the one? 

Whoever it is, they're also going to have to deal with this burgeoning - and very warranted - focus onpetcoke. This oil sands byproduct gained greater visibility recently given the Koch brothers' piling of it on the Detroit waterfront to the discomfort of Windsorites looking on from across the river. 

We, for the most part, won't burn it for fuel due to its high emissions levels and the "Environmental Protection Agency will no longer allow any new licenses permitting the burning of petroleum coke in the United States." So it is largely being shipped overseas to China and Mexico, nations that don't care much about emissions levels. Shouldn't we Canadians be concerned about that? Particularly if Keystone were to be approved, with the amounts of petcoke that will be produced. 

Worth noting that one place using Petcoke close to home is Nova Scotia because, basically, its cheap.  In fact that's where part of that big pile is going.  Nevertheless:

Renewables produced 18.3% of [NS's] electricity in 2012, the highest total ever. Approved wind farms to be built and the proposed Maritime Link project would help us reach 40% renewables by 2020 and continue to reduce our use of coal and pet coke.

...which 18.2 per cent figure is considerably larger than, I think, Ontario.  

PS.  Maritime Link is this.  When finished, it will connect the NS power grid to NFLD and surplus power from the  Lower Churchill Hydroelectric Generation Project.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

T.O. Storm Journal

-Mayor Rob Ford

The following has been written up from notes I scribbled on the back of my hand with a  magic marker as I fled the deluge. Hopefully they will be of use in reconstructing the events of what will surely come to be regarded as a late afternoon of infamy.

4:30 PM: The downpour has already begun when my bus arrives.  The bus is full of wet people from outer Scarborough.  It smells of exotic foods; samosas, and coffee that isn't from Tim Horton's.  The atmosphere grows tense as we plod slowly east through deepening puddles.  A baby cries.

5:35 PM: I exit into a full-blown conflagration!  The water, while not yet ankle deep, penetrates my runners and is, I discover, quite cold and unpleasant.  A determined leap carries me to the sidewalk.

5:37 PM: I stand before my building.  Lightning fills the air and I  decide I will not chance an elevator ride under such fraught circumstances.  Instead, I  scale an interior floor, two, three...I am reminded of my first time up K-2, back in the day.

5:41 PM: I reach my unit!  NOOOO!  A window has been left open, and the carpet beneath has grown damp from the rain.  I race to the site, bath towel in hand, and dry as though my very life depended upon it!  This carpet, while not exactly new, is in excellent shape and I can neither afford to replace it or strip it to the hardwood underneath!  Fortunately, through vigorous efforts, I am able to avert disaster.

6:10 PM: A sudden emergency requires an elevator trip down to the underground and my parked vehicle.   I clutch a bic lighter to my chest as my car descends, in case of a power outage.  The air fills with tension.  Later, in-line skates retrieved, I ride back up, still wary.  However,  this journey passes without incident.

6:45 PM:  I look out my balcony window at the lightning over Lake Ontario.  While there is no flooding in this location, I fear that richy-rich downtown assholes who have been made homeless by the storm may show up and start begging for food and blankets.  It is a tense moment.

8:00 PM: During a lull in the storm,  I put on Season III of Downton Abby.  It is, I find, very much like season II of Downton Abby.  Bates is still in the shit.  The air is tense as I await the next band of storm-clouds from The West.

Tuesday, 5:57 AM:  I awake on my couch, having missed both the second wave of storms and whether or not Lady Mary finally hooks up with that barrister guy.  It is only blind luck that a tree was not ripped from its moorings by the storm winds and flung against the side of my building while I slept, with possibly fatal consequences!

I thank FATE that I have come safely through the events of the last 12 hours.

Twitter And The News

I can't believe people actually study twitter for a living.  That's like deconstructing a hallmark card.  But whatever:

July 5, 2013 — News agencies continue to have an edge over Twitter in being first with the news, a study found.

Research into reporting of news events by Twitter and newswire services has found that while Twitter can sometimes break news before newswires, for major events there is little evidence that it can replace traditional news outlets.

Twitter's main benefits for news are bringing additional coverage of events, and for sharing news items of interest to niche audiences or with a short lifespan, such as local sports results.

Doesn't look the paper behind this news release is available yet.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Twitter: Who Is Real, Who Isn't?

July 4, 2013 — Tweet timing can differentiate individual, corporate and bot-controlled Twitter accounts independent of the language or content of a tweet, according to research published July 3 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Aldo Faisal and Gabriela Tavares from Imperial College London, UK.


Perhaps not surprisingly, the study also found corporate-managed accounts tweeted more during work hours, personal accounts were more active in the afternoons and evenings, and bot-controlled accounts either tweeted at regular, constant intervals through the day, or had sudden bursts of activity at one or a few specific hours. Senior author Faisal concludes, "The identification and classification of specific types of users on Twitter can be useful for a variety of purposes, from the computational social sciences, focusing advertisement and political campaigns, to filtering spam, identity theft and malicious accounts."

Link to paper through link.

Christian Crossroads Through The Years

From The Winnipeg Free Press:

OTTAWA - The Harper government has received scores of letters and emails over government funding being provided to an organization that referred to homosexuality as a "perversion" and "sin."

The Prime Minister's Office and the office of the international development minister got about 170 letters and emails after The Canadian Press reported earlier this year on the $544,813 contract to Christian Crossroads Communications for humanitarian work in Uganda.

Here's there founder gay bashing in 1979.  Here's them getting dinged by the CBSC for abusive or unduly discriminatory commentary on the basis of sexual orientation.    So, a pretty consistent message over the years.

Athabasca River Oil Spill Still Unconfirmed, But...

The Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD) suggests a sheen noticed on the river is "natural", but pictures have emerged.  And, I must day, it looks like some kind of petroleum product to me.

Saturday, July 06, 2013


Look for announcements about Sun Media cutting frequency of papers in southwestern Ontario this week and next week.


...heard a rumour of press room layoffs in London, anyone hear more?

And at Sun News Network HQ some guy apparently came around this week to look at the HVAC system.  When a guy comes around to look at the HVAC system, it usually means your building is up for sale.  Pink slips usually follow soon after.

Friday, July 05, 2013

New Jewish Group Fills Gap Left By The CJC

...whose members include  Stephen Lewis, Michele Landsberg and Bernie Farber, and whose mandate includes more than just Israel 24/7 (includes, for example,Hungarian, Slovak and Czech nationals of Roma heritage).  Good luck to them.  Hope to hear lots from them in the future.

Saved By The Shell! Ostrander Point Wind Project Cancelled Due To Presence Of Endangered Turtle!!!!

The  Ostander Point Wind Project has been revoked because:

... the roads systems and construction [necessary for the project] would cause serious and irreversible harm to the Blanding’s Turtle and that the proposed mitigation plans were insufficient to protect the endangered species.

The full ruling is below.  Its worth a read-through (which I've done!).  Project opponents brought six arguments to the tribunal: 1) the project would cause human health issues, 2) the project would endanger migratory birds passing through the Ostrander Point IBA (Important bird Area), 3) the project would endanger bats living near or migrating through through the area,  4) the project would encroach on the breeding grounds of the local Monarch Butterfly population, 5) the project would endanger plant life in the local alvar , and 6) the project would endanger the local population of Blanding's Turtle.

Below the document are excerpts in regards to each of these issues:

Human Health

Effect On Migratory Birds

I think the appellants felt that this was their strongest card.   After all Ontario Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller had argued against allowing wind-farms in important bird areas.  However, after much testimony and counter-testimony, the tribunal saw things differently:

I'm not particularly surprised by this aspect of the ruling.  Most ornithologists, when asked to rank causes behind the decline in NA bird populations over the past several decades, wouldn't even put wind farms on their top ten list.  In fact, if people really wanted to make a difference re saving endangered bird species they'd kill their pet cat (in particular if its an outdoor cat); each of these vicious little bastards kill about as many birds per year as an average turbine, and they can't heat your house.  


This was the most interesting aspect of the decision for me.  As noted, "there is very little scientific research available on the impact of wind turbines on bats, partly because bats are extremely difficult to study." Some highlights of the testimony included:

And this, with respect to mitigating the effect of turbines:
In the end, the Tribunal concluded:

Monarch Butterflies

The project was to be located near Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area, which is a International Monarch Butterfly Reserves.  Concerns were raised that it would negatively impact Monarch populations.  The Tribunal didn't buy it:
Similarly with the local plant life: the project would not cause “serious and irreversible harm”.  I'm not going to excerpt that bit, because lets face it plants are boring.

And I'll don't think I'll excerpt the bits about Blanding's Turtle either, even though these considerations finally put a stop to the project.  Its important to note, however, that the presence of turbines was not itself an issue.   Rather, the problem lay with a road network that would have been built in order to construct and maintain them.  This network would have been smack dab in the middle of the turtle's habitat; the beasts would have been forced to cross these roads on multiple occasions and at multiple points during their life cycle.  Since the network would have been publicly accessible, more ATV and other traffic would have been drawn to the area.  Furthermore, available mitigation measures were judged ineffective.  Nobody obeys road signs, for example.  And culverts where the turtles might safely cross under the road depend on the species having crossing "hot spots"--preferred road crossing points--where these devices might be installed.  Unfortunately, Blanding's Turtles do not use their habitat in the appropriate manner.

So there you have it.  A win for the anti-windfarm faction, but really more bad than good news in the ruling.  Claims re the negative health effects of turbines continue to gain no traction.  The recent study by Nissenbaum, which garnered so much media attention, is referenced a whole one time in the ruling.  In practical terms it has clearly had no effect on the debate.  Furthermore, the judgement's position re IBA's suggests that turbines can probably operate safely within protected areas.  That's a pretty important point going forward.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Rob Ford Prepares...?

Got the pic from Coady McGraw who says its:
And, from Streetview, it does seem to be.  Nothing much on that block other than the LC and the beer store.

PS.  Picture is bigger if you open in new tab.

Hudak's Lament: PCPO Leader Issues Statement Re Doug Holyday, Steve Ryan, And Wayne Wettlaufer

Actually, no, Tim Hudak has not issued a statement in regards to the PCPO's double fluff-up on the first day of their bye-election campaign.--ie Wayne Wettlaufer's comment on ignorant women who vote Liberal, and Doug Holyday's ill-time speculation about a possible run for MPP in  Etobicoke-Lakeshore.  The former insulted half the province in a single tweet, and the latter involves Holyday possibly ousting a fellow Conservative named Steve Ryan, who won the nomination out there fair-and-square back in December.  That's a sure way to party unity!

In fact, Hudak planned to issue a statement, but his handlers snatched it from him.  Luckly, I got hold of an early draft, which I have reproduced below:

My Fellow Ontarions,

I am so sick of all this bullshit.  The government of the day is tired, awash in scandal, demoralized.  And yet there  are five bye-elections coming up and I am poised to get bupkis outta them.  

Well no, not quite bupkis.  I'm going to get a shitload o' blame for the result.  And yes, I am The Leader.  But there's only so much I can do leading a cartload of hapless boobs.  I got a weak bench, is what I'm saying.  I'm not suggesting they're morons.  I'm saying morons can beat these guys in checkers.

And you know what?  Wayne and Doug aren't even the worst.  That would be Randy Hillier, from out in Lanarck.  I go to hoedowns with him out there, to meet his people, and they cook and consume all sorts of wild meat and, frankly, its difficult for me to watch them eat.  Very disturbing.  And the worst part is I can see their scheming.  Randy watches me out of the corner of my eye, waiting for me to stumble, to eat with a fork or something hopelessly Liberal like that.

Well, I'll tell you what, Randy.  You want my job, you can have it.  You just have to ask up front.  In fact why don't you just kill me now?  Rip my fucking guts out and strangle my political career with them.   Because I can't hack it anymore!!!  I can no longer work under such conditions!!!  

And then afterwards I'll be free, and I can go back to the private sector.  Maybe sit on a board.  Maybe help conserve some poor animal. I like bunnies, for example.  I'm not that guy you see on tv, that looks like Richard Nixon shagged a weasel.  I'm really quite sweet when you get to know me.

I have a resume if anyone wants to look at it.

Tim Hudak

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

The Jet Stream, The Calgary Floods, And Global Warming

One day I want to do an in-depth post on gradually changing attitudes among climate scientists re attributing individual events to global warming.  This is not that post.  Instead I've just ripped some text from Dr. Jeff Masters at Wunderground that talks about how unusual patterns in the jet stream brought Alberta its great flood:

...June 18 - 22, when a ridge of high pressure over Alaska broke all-time heat records in the state, with unofficial readings as high as 98°F. A low pressure system became trapped over Alberta, Canada, bringing the city of Calgary a $3 billion flood disaster. This was the most expensive flood in Canadian history, and third most expensive natural disaster of any kind for the country. The only more expensive disasters were a 1989 wildfire ($4.2 billion) and a 1977 drought ($3 billion.)


When the jet stream goes into one of these extreme configurations, it freezes in its tracks for weeks, resulting in an extended period of extreme heat or flooding, depending upon where the high-amplitude part of the jet stream lies. The scientists found that because human-caused global warming is causing the Arctic to heat up more than twice as rapidly as the rest of the planet, a unique resonance pattern capable of causing this behavior was resulting. According to an email I received from German climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf, one of the co-authors of the study, unusually extreme jet stream amplitudes likely played a role in the May - June Central European flooding event.

So there you have it.  For now.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Sri Lanka Strikes Back!

A diplomatic slappy-fight between diplomatic corps over Canada's threatened boycott of the Commonwealth summit in Colombo.  Nothing in the MSM, but here and below in the "ethnic" papers:

Yeah.  A quiet news day.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Heartland Institute Vs. Chinese Academy Of Science, Round II

Last week the Heartland Institute got into it with Chinese Academy of Science.  The academy had seen fit to translate  HI's  Climate Change Reconsidered reports, and PR guy Jim Lakely from the institute suggested that this counted as an endorsement of the think-tank's position re global warming.  But no; CAS begged to differ, in fairly strong terms, and Lakeley was forced to issue an apology/retraction.

Now, however, we find that HI's words were hollow.  CEO Joe Bast writes:

Regrettably, the lies of some advocates, perhaps aided by confusion caused by the language barrier, led Chinese officials to threaten to cancel a planned workshop in Beijing for some of the authors and translators of Climate Change Reconsidered. With four scientists representing The Heartland Institute already in Beijing, we agreed to remove the news release and the book itself from our Web site.

Now that the workshop has been successfully concluded, we have restored our original news release...

So once they got their boys thehelloutta China, they went back to their original, misleading statement.

I emailed CAS once again to see if they had any further response to this latest bit of trickery, and they responded as follows:

Dear Mr. Murphy,

It's very kind of you to remind us the repost of the Heartland release. We have notice it last week. The CAS attitude towards the translated book had been made clear in the statements on June 15 as follows: We are sure that we have sent you the translator's preface in our last email, in which the translator had addressed his views on climate change and on the translation of the book.

We hope to receive your continuing focus on the Chinese Academy of Sciences, both on its scientific efforts&achievements and on its official website.

Chinese Academy of Sciences

Which, to me at least, suggests they are really, really tired of the Heartland Institute and the whole clown show HI inflicted on them.  I suspect that this will be the last bit of cooperating we see between HI and CAS for a long while.

Your Daily Nazi: McCorkell Collection Update

This clip from CBC brings the latest, in particular that the University of Ottawa, which got some of McCorkell's artifacts after he moved East from Saskatchewan , is willing to let the collection be sold off to private collectors:

As for me, I was most interested in the few glimpses of McCorkell's collection that the clip offers.  My favorite piece is this:

Maybe its a bit of pottery.  I'm not sure.  But the beast carved on its surface is pretty clearly a Griffin, one of my favorite of the mythical creatures.  And that's chiefly because:

Much of the griffin folklore originated from the deserts of central Asia, specifically in an area of alluvial gold deposits in a thousand-mile corridor dividing land masses that are now China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan. Mayor's research led her to consult paleontologists to see what kinds of fossils were common to the area.

The Gobi, Turfan and Dzungarian deserts contain some of the world's richest fossil beds, and many fossils appear on the surface because of the windswept nature of the region. Fossils of the plant-eating Protoceratops are the most commonly found dinosaur fossils in the Gobi desert.

Protoceratops was a creature six or seven feet long, with four legs, claws, and a scary beak that looked like a huge lobster claw....  [A]ncient people may have dug up skeletons of the Protoceratops, a probable theory considering that American tourists who visited the Gobi Desert in 1992 uncovered a complete, standing dinosaur skeleton trapped in the sand. It would only take a small imaginative step for ancient prospectors, making similar finds, to think that living griffins existed and guarded their nests like protective mother birds in the same standing position. 

You can see the two creatures compared here, for example.

Not much more to add here other than to repeat myself: it would be a pity if this collection was sold off to fund a gang of white supremacists.

As to the U of O's decision, I suspect McCorkell's collection is good but not essential.  Rare but not that rare.  I've seen ancient coins, for example, turn up in flea markets in Arizona.  One fellow told me the piece he was hawking for $30 U.S. showed a constellation of stars on the face that were not visible with the naked eye, suggesting that the ancients had had contact with alien races.  I told him I was just off the plane, not the boat.

PS.  U of O labels the griffin thusly: Panel from painted terracotta revetment frieze with griffin from Düver (Turkey) 550 B.C.