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Jay Currie

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10/23/2004

Thought crimes

Earlier today at Wikepedia the following was posted under the entry for Mr. K:
Later the same year, he established a web site, in part to counter the large amount of material circulated on the web by his detractors in the Liberal Party. His "Latest Musings" weblog gained a wide following. But in 2004 his presence on the internet became an uneasy one when he launched an unprecedented legal assault on free speech in the Canadian blogosphere. Warren, a practising lawyer, sent libel notices to four bloggers whose posts he construed as defamatory. This threat to free speech was successfully defeated by the concerted effort of Canadian bloggers co-operating across party lines, and is considered a pivotal moment in the Canadian blogosphere's coming of age.
wikpedia
Later on a chap named Joshua Paquin, who describes himself as
a student in Ottawa, Canada. Since 2000 I've been an active member of the Liberal Party of Canada. I've also been a part of the youth organizations CISV and the North American Federation of Temple Youth.
wikipedia
did a bit of tidying up. The paragraph by changing the graf to read:
Later the same year, he established a web site, in part to counter the large amount of material circulated on the web by his detractors in the Liberal Party. His "Latest Musings" weblog gained a wide following. In 2004 Kinsella aroused controversy when he threatened legal action against Canadian bloggers who had allegedly libelled him and his family. The issue, while drawing considerable attention in the blogosphere for several days, was quickly settled without any legal action taken.
Happily, the graf's sense was somewhat restored later in the day:
Later the same year, he established a web site, in part to counter the large amount of material circulated on the web by his detractors in the Liberal Party. His "Latest Musings" weblog gained a wide following. In 2004 Warren aroused controversy when he threatened legal action against Canadian bloggers who he alleged libelled him and his family. For many in the Canadian blogosphere, his resort to legal action, instead of open discussion, was seen as an attack on free speech. The issue was eventually settled without the need for litigation, and is considered a pivotal moment in the Canadian blogosphere's coming of age.
wikipedia
Which, more than anything esle shows what lengths the Liberal Party's faithful will go to when one of their own is caught doing really dumb things.

10/22/2004

Mr. K has left the building

Having been handed his head by a number of bloggers, Mr. K. posts a link free diatribe about how blogging is largely pointless and how he is aiming his 30,000 visitor a month site at the outside world.

Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

Hate Crime

I don't like thought crime legislation of any sort but there is always the exception:
The leader of a Vancouver mosque attended regularly by a local man reported killed in Chechnya has preached the virtues of jihad and called Jews "the brothers of monkeys and swine."...

Kathrada tells his audience the Qur'an and its accompanying writings view Jews as treacherous people with whom Muslims will engage in an apocalyptic battle.

"The prophet . . . said the final hour will not be established until such time as the Muslims will battle and will fight against the Jews," Kathrada says.

"Then what will happen? Listen to the good news after that. The prophet . . . says that the stone and the tree will say 'oh Muslim, oh slave of Allah, that verily behind me is a Jew. Then come and kill him.' "
my telus
No doubt this will make me even more of a bigot but I thin this man should be arrested and charged for inciting hatred. Call me crazy; but this is incitement and it may well have lead three kids to their deaths in Chechnya.

The man offers this defence:
Kathrada refused to explain the meaning behind the tirade against Jews.

"I guess if you heard the lecture then it should be clear to you," he said.

But he defended his characterization of Jews as treacherous monkeys and pigs.

"I guess no rougher than what is used against us," Kathrada said. "It's in our Qur'an."
Want to bet he's busted? didn't think you would.

Election Every Year, F*** Yeah

Another election so soon, you say? Why yes. I love elections. They're great fun. Have 'em every year as far as I'm concerned. The more the merrier. All this talk of Canadians not wanting another election is just haddock hair. Balderdash. Besides, there's no NHL. Damn it. I need something to obsess on after November 2.
occam's carbuncle

Peak Oil - Ken Layne fills up

First, "Peak Oil" means two or three different things, depending on your source: There's actual peak production, when the total oil produced is forever lower than the Peak Oil date. Then there's the Consumption Curve -- or fluctuating demand curve, I guess -- running along or atop true supply. Then there's the point at which the cost / energy of producing oil exceeds the value of the oil itself. Today, the cost of returning to mostly played-out fields or dealing with oil shale or oil sand is more than the market will pay.
ken layne
With oil prices hovering around $55.00 a barrel hand wringing has begun. It needn't, though it is almost certainly a good thing that oil prices are rising, and not just for Alberta. The West's economies have been cheap oil addicts for a very long time. Which has frought us the delights of SUVs for city use and suburbs. Miles and miles of economically looney houses miles from anywhere one might make a living.

There are two questions implied by Layne's long and interesting post. Are we running out of oil? Will consuption patterns shift. The answer to the first is no. Or, rather, not for a while. The cost of extraction in the Alberta oil sands is around $18.00 a barrel. Way more than the pump and go in Saudi; but there is a hell of lot of the stuff and a margin of an easy $25.00 a barrel will keep the drag lines running. There is lots of oil at $55.00 and even more at $100.00 a barrel.

But cheap oil is going or gone.

Which means the owners of Navigators look like fools - as if they didn't already. So do folks who have bought houses fifty miles from where they work. Hello...do you really like driving for an hour and a half every day? No? Well, you like it less when gas is $4.00 a litre. (Call it $14.00 a gallon for the metrically challenged.)

End of Western civilization? Well, no. My friend Thomas reports that gas is two Euros a litre in France and the traffic is terrible.

In fact, Layne mentions the beginning of the market's answer to expensive oil,
So what would it mean? We're already seeing one happy result: mass-market hybrid vehicles. (I'm holding out for the 2005 Toyota Highlander hybrid, which is a helluva mid-sized 4WD buddy that combines the legendary Land Rover known & loved throughout the world with the smooth & fancy Camry.) Other happy results are the new fleet of hybrid FedEx trucks, smart Urban-Suburban Light Rail and the commercial development of BioDiesel for our big trucks.
This is what economists, and the Japanese who nearly broke Detroit by making small cars which people wanted to buy, call a substitution effect. Yup, consumers are not dumb. They respond to price signals by buying cars that go farther on a litre of gas.

Substitution can occur in other and more interesting ways. You can stop driving. You can work at home. You can movecloser to your work. You can tell your kids to walk to school/soccer/ballet. You can take the bus.

Market signals work best when they are clear. A consumer is not going to care about fuel efficiency if he or she thinks that oil prices will drop like a rock next year and the year after. But if they are clear about pricey oil they are going to dump the SUV and go for the economobile, hybrid or otherwise. They will also think twice about the house in the back of beyond.

More expensive oil will also sput the development of a huge variety of fuel saving technolgies. Really light cars. Safe nuclear power. House by house geothermal heat and cooling. Many of these technologies are available now but are to expensive relative to burning dead dinos. That price point will shift.

The bonus in all this is that the gradual conversion to more fuel efficient life cars and life styles will also reduce the reliance on imported oil. Which, in turn, will reduce the significance of the Middle East and its bizarre politics. this cannot help but be a good thing.


Consequences

After the recent unpleasantness, I've made some changes to my blogroll. A few additions, and one subtraction.
the monger
For the folks who think Mr. K is melting down in public to get hits.

And while your there watch the doctor disect the still twitching cadaver of Jimmy Carter, historian.
And it was, after all, an "unnecessary" war. I mean, if only Lincoln had listened better to Davis, the war of brother-against-brother would not have happened. Mind you, there'd be a few African slaves who might still have wished for war, but they don't matter. Kind of like thousands of dead Iraqi children. They don't matter, do they, Jimmy? Slaves and toddlers, kind of like bugs on the windshield as you race to claim your prize. Good on you, Jim! Thumbs up! (Or, in Iraqi terms, stumps up!) 4 out of 5 Tyrants say: "I love Jimmy!"
the monger

10/21/2004

Knuckle draging update

The nose breathing is going OK. It really is kinda cool once you get used to it. My friends Martine and Thomas brought me a bottle of Calvados back from France. (Don't tell anyone but, er, they're French. Being good bigots Susan and I fed them dinner.) The struggle to walk upright was aided by the good witch Glenda's chance remark over at Don's,
Why would he send all that traffic to Jay who can not only write him under the table, but has a sharper political mind.
glenda eden
And here's the thing: blogging is about those comments. About the respect of your peers. The reality check in blogging is very quick. Post rubbish and there will be someone out there who will call you on it. Post something interesting and people will link it.

That respect can't be bought or spun. It's earned. (OK, link whoring helps...but my point stands.) Kinsella doesn't get that because he's a creature of the industrial age media. Distributed, self organizing, commentary baffles him. After all, it is rather difficult to take a select few members of the blogosphere out for a drink and a quiet word. Kinsella's wee email slime on Gormery was the internet equivilent of the semi-discrete leak which has been powering the Ottawa media/political nexus.

We just witnessed the full on power of blogs in the US in the Rather affair. Without a speck of direction the swarm overwhelmed an industrial age network. Bill Paley saw broadcasting as inviolate. Top down. The Reith model which propelled the BBC.

Problem with that top down model is that there are a lot of people who are as smart or, heaven forbid, smarter, than the average journalist or special assistant and who owe nothing to anyone. They calls 'em as they see's em and they can't be spun.

One or two would be voices in the wilderness, twenty is an issue management issue; but a couple of hundred, much less a couple of thousand, is a fundamental change in the terms of trade between politicians and the media.

In our PJs, in our pitch dark home offices - when the media are having a few cocktails with people who they know will lie to them - bloggers Google for facts, look up IPs and retain their integrity.

The patron saint of bloggers was a guy named I.F. Stone. Here's what Ralph Nader wrote about Stone:
His name was I.F. Stone and his was the power of example for two generations of journalists. As a 14-year-old in the year 1921, he could wait no longer and started his own publication. At college he could not wait to graduate and went into daily journalism. When newspaper after newspaper failed his standards of accuracy, truth and importance, he started with his wife, Esther, the famous I.F. Stone Weekly in 1953 right out of his kitchen. Stone's inspiration for the weekly came in part from the newsletter In Fact, which George Seldes, the muckraking reporter, began in the forties. The Stones visited the Seldes family and spent several days learning the ways and means of surviving with one's own newsletter. Stone did more than survive. By the time he closed the weekly in 1968, due to failing health, he had a circulation of 70,000 worldwide. Albert Einstein was a subscriber; his $5 check was not cashed, but it was framed....

While others in his profession cowered, he stood tall to challenge the abusers of power no matter where they came from--right, middle or left. He did not have favorite perpetrators to let off. He was only concerned with the victims that the bullies pushed around or the dictators oppressed. He never allowed past acquaintances with influential power brokers to dictate any self-censorship.
multinational monitor
Kinsella would do well to realize blogger's are Stone's heirs.


Oh Joy it is to be Alive

A few rightist knuckle-dragging nutbars - like this one, who actually proudly calls HIMSELF "a bigot" - are a-twitter
warren kinsella
Not often do I have the pleasure of signing on to the internet and having a man who defines hypocrisy refer to me as a rightist and a nutbar in the same sentence. Welcome Kinfellas!

Scroll down for details of how our hero has been using bloggers to slime Mr. Justice Gomery through his family. Or just click here to be whisked to the permalink - a feature that the somewhat technically - as well as ethically - challenged Mr. K might want to consider installing.

For folks just tuning in, Mr. K's absurd legal threats are detailed below as well but you might want to read this post for background. Out here in blogland we refer to a letter from Mr. K as getting the KLAPP.

Anyone wanting to check out "rightist knuckle dragger" may want to pop over to my Long Posts Blog for lots and lots of evidence.

And Mr. K is absolutely right, I did write the words "OK, I'm a bigot." I realize context is of little importance to a big, burley shitkicker like Warren; but I assume, gentle reader, that you read Warren for amusement rather than information so I provide that link.

Other than that, enjoy your stay, read lots, have fun.

10/20/2004

It comes to this

France has quietly begun expelling Muslim girls for wearing head scarves to public schools in defiance of a new law banning conspicuous religious symbols, treading carefully for fear of endangering two French hostages in Iraq.

The expulsions of at least five girls since Tuesday were the first since the law went into effect at the start of the academic year on Sept. 2. They were kept low-key because the French journalists' captors had demanded the measure be abolished.

After disciplinary hearings, officials on Wednesday expelled two 17-year-olds from schools in the eastern city of Mulhouse and another girl from a school in Flers in Normandy in western France.
ap
Now it is more than a little ironic that there are more expulsions expected after "a vacation period marking the Roman Catholic All Saints Day holiday ends Nov. 3."

What is pathetic about this is that a) the law was enacted, to a large degree, to protect these girls from being forced to wear head scarves by their parents or communities, b)that it is designed to preserve the essentially - except for the Catholic holidays - secular constitution of France, c)two French hostages are quite possibly going to have their heads cut off as a result of this law's enforcement. What France and the rest of Europe is confronting is the fact that the more fundamentalist Muslims in their midst are not willing or are unable to adapt to the cultures in which they find themselves. In Canada or the United States or England, the religious arguments have been settled by way of the historic compromise of seperating Church and State. It is not a perfect seperation in any of those nations; but it is one which avoids these sorts of issues.

In much of Europe the possibility of that type of compromise was lost in the 19th century as the forces of anti-clericalism drafted the constitutions of new nation states. France is at the most extreme end of this with the state actively opposing the Catholic Church since the Revolution.

This left the French with very little choice when it came to its public schools.

The pity of it is that these girls are going to suffer as a result of the collision of cultures.

Billy

Over at the Urban Conservative magazine start up site momentem is building for "Billy" as the title of the projected UC mag...(there was some agitation for "Svend" but, well...)

We want to stay well away from dreary and excluding titles like Conservative Review or The Journal of Rightish Thought, Real Liberal, or Illiberal Gazetter; similarily, fun as Fascist Farm Report would be, we are pretty serious about this being a real rather than merely amusing project.


What do you think? Comment here or there.

10/19/2004

Dumb, in both languages

Gerry Nicoll of the National Citizens coalition sent along an email heads up about Official Languages Commissioner Dyane Adam insisting that the Government's 750 million dollar five year bilingualism program be exempt from an ongoing review of all non-essential government services.

I rather like official billingualism and I like the idea of Canadians learning two languages; but 750 million dollars....hey, you could buy half a gun registry for that sort of money.

A bad bet

The Islamists have made a bet – that the West, in its twilight days, is too soft and decadent to muster the strength for this long struggle. Would you say the Britain on display to the world in the weeks before Mr Bigley's murder would have disabused them of that analysis or confirmed it?

Victim culture is now the default mode of our times. But Mr Bigley wasn't a victim. He was a combatant, even if he didn't know it. In a terrorist war, we are all potential combatants: we board a flight in Boston, we set off for work in Manhattan, we go clubbing in Bali, or to the bank in Istanbul, or to school in Beslan – and something happens. And, except for that last category, we should all be grown-up enough to understand that.
telegraph
Last week Steyn wrote a column about poor Mr. Bigley who was beheaded by Islamists. He suggested that the mawkish sentimentality displayed by the British over Bigley's fate would only encourage the terrorists.

Now we have a report that,
A British-Iraqi woman who heads the Care International charity group in Iraq has been abducted in Baghdad, just over two weeks after kidnappers beheaded Kenneth Bigley.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Tuesday he would do everything possible to secure the release of Irish-born Margaret Hassan, who has dual British and Iraqi nationality and has lived in Iraq for about 30 years.
reuters
As Tony blair puts it,
"This is someone who has lived in Iraq for 30 years, someone who is immensely respected, someone who is doing her level best to help the country," said Blair.

"It shows you the type of people we are up against, that they are prepared to kidnap somebody like this."
reuters
The only thing to do with such people is kill them dead.

10/18/2004

Broken Stick

Enviro-sceptics have often wondered at the "hockey stick" curve for global warming. Turns out it may be a nothing more than a statistical error. I was going to blog about it but the good Doctor over at the Monger has done a better job than I would have...go read it.

Clinging to Power

Prime Minister Paul Martin's minority government has avoided another possible collapse after agreeing to accept a Conservative party amendment to a key throne speech motion.

This is believed to be the first time in history that a Canadian government has altered the content of its throne speech to accommodate the views of the opposition.
cbc
This is good news for the Tories - who will now be able to campaign on the basis that any success the Liberal might enjoy came as the result of their having adopted the Tory amendment - and very bad news for the Liberals.

There is simply no way that the Grits would have agreed to the amendment if they thought for an isntant they had the votes to defeat it. They don't. Which means, for the moment, they govern at the pleasure of the Bloc and the Tories.

Cracking the whip will provide endless parlimentary fun as the Liberals can, as Duceppe points out, be defeated in committe on a regular basis.

Spring election?? You heard it here first.

This makes me sad

Doug Bennett, the lead singer of the Canadian indie band Doug and the Slugs, died Saturday following an undisclosed lengthy illness. He was 52.
cbc
When I was 21 I spent much of a rather happy year going to Doug and the Slugs gigs. It wasn't the best band in the world; but it was fun and wonderfully silly. Bennett was not only a guy who could sell a song, he was also an artist and a writer who often had something interesting to say.

Kinsella's Real Agenda

Don, from All Things Canadian has posted the smoking gun over at the BlogsCanada E-Group. Nothing less than Warren Kinsella seeking to attack the Gomery Commission through Judge Gomery's daughter.

>From: "Warren Kinsella"
>To: "Don at talkcanada"
>Subject: RE: Hey dude - confidential
>Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2004 11:08:40 -0400
>
>She is indeed.
>
>Wonder how Ogilvy's got that sole-source, multi-million dollar assignment as commission counsel?
>
>What a coincidence.
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Don at talkcanada [mailto:talkcanada@hotmail.com]
>Sent: Thursday, October 07, 2004 10:56 AM
>To: Warren Kinsella
>Subject: RE: Hey dude - confidential
>
>
>Is she John's daughter?
>
>Don.
>
>
> >From: "Warren Kinsella"
> >To:
> >Subject: Hey dude - confidential
> >Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2004 09:59:39 -0400
> >
> >Was going to put this up on my site, and then thought it might be something
> >we could have fun with in the blogosphere. Just don't source me. Over to
> >you:
> >* This
> > is an interesting coincidence. When you consider this
> >
> >.
> >
> >
blogscanada election e-group
This from a man who wrote,

Another mouth-breather wrote about all of this outrageous, Stalinist suppression of the constitutional rights of morons, and he decided to slander my parents (my parents!) in a way that was cruel and cowardly and sick.
warren kinsella
So in Kinsella land it is unacceptable and actionable to make a rather lame insult which invokes a guy's parents, but it is just fine to imply that a distinguished law firm with over 460 lawyers was appointed counsel to a Royal Commission because the head of that commission's daughter happened to be one of them.

Kinsella is, I rather hope, going to discover the true meaning of the word "actionable". One of the senior partners at Ogilvy's is Brian Mulroney who is no stranger to the law of defamation. Of course he does not merely threaten suits, he files them.

Kinsella's smear is all the worse because he not only slimes the Sally Gomery by implying that the contract was let because she works for the firm, he also attacks a member of the bench. This should attract the attention of the Law Society of Upper Canada as lawyers have a duty to defend judges who are, by virtue of their position, unable to defend themselves.

Criticizing Tribunals - Although proceedings and decisions of courts and tribunals are properly subject to scrutiny and criticism by all members of the public, including lawyers, judges and members of tribunals are often prohibited by law or custom from defending themselves. Their inability to do so imposes special responsibilities upon lawyers. First, a lawyer should avoid criticism that is petty, intemperate, or unsupported by a bona fide belief in its real merit, bearing in mind that in the eyes of the public, professional knowledge lends weight to the lawyer's judgments or criticism. Second, if a lawyer has been involved in the proceedings, there is the risk that any criticism may be, or may appear to be, partisan rather than objective. Third, where a tribunal is the object of unjust criticism, a lawyer, as a participant in the administration of justice, is uniquely able to and should support the tribunal, both because its members cannot defend themselves and because in doing so the lawyer is contributing to greater public understanding of and therefore respect for the legal system.
Law Society of Upper Canada, Rules of Professional Conduct - Rule 4(scroll down)


10/17/2004

Torah Wisdom

via Winds of Change
Ten: Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
the lazer beam

denBeste looks at the polls

It is great to have Steve den Beste posting even once in a while. He has an engineer's analysis of the American Presidential opinion polls up and, while he sees a general trend in Bush's direction, believes,
In my opinion, the polls were being deliberately gimmicked, in hopes of helping Kerry. In early August it looks as if there was an attempt to engineer a "post-convention bounce", but it failed and was abandoned after about two weeks. But I'm not absolutely certain about that.

The data for September, however, is clearly an anomaly. The data is much too consistent. Compare the amount of jitter present before September to the data during that month. There's no period before that of comparable length where the data was so stable.

The September data is also drastically outside of previous trends, with distinct stairsteps both at the beginning and at the end. And the data before the anomaly and after it for both Kerry and Bush matches the long term trendlines.

If I saw something like that in scientific or engineering data, I'd be asking a lot of very tough questions. My first suspicion would be that the test equipment was broken, but in the case of opinion polls there is no such thing. My second suspicion would be fraud.

In September, I think there was a deliberate attempt to depress Kerry's numbers, so as to set up an "October comeback". Of course, the goal was to engineer a bandwagon.
uss clueless
I am rather sceptical of the claim of deliberateness. The anomaly is certainly there and most people who watch polls saw the September numbers as outliers; however, it is unlikely to have been caused by any attempt to rig the results.

An explaination which fits the data as well is that up until the summer Kerry was an entirely unknown quantity to the vast majority of Americans. Over the summer, particularily as a result of the goofy Kerry reporting for duty routine and the chaos which engulfed the Dems' campaign, Americans simply could not believe that any party could have been this dumb. The September numbers, while no doubt manipulated to some degree by both sides, reflects the stunned amazement of Americans as they began to realize who Kerry was.

Since the beginning of September, the Dems have been backing and filling. Kerry has made an effort to come up with a position on Iraq and stick to it. He has managed to look reasonably credible, if not very exciting, in the debates. He has, generally, avoided visual gaffes even though his policy positions, particularily on the "nuisance" of terrorism, seem to have been crafted by people more interested in the Hillary 2008 race than putting Kerry in the White House.

The initial shock of Kerry's ineptness has worn off and the opinion polls reflect this.

Meanwhile, and more to the point, Bush is simply plowing ahead. This is, I think, the classic fox and hedgehog race. The fox capers about knowing a great many, very nuanced, things - the hedgehog plods forward, knowing only the one vitally important, thing.

Kerry needs to keep his anti-war, Moore/Dean democratic base happy, he feels he has to attack the Republican stand on gay marriage through the vice President's daughter, defend his military record, critize a war he voted for and against, conjure up alliances which will never happen, appeal to "security moms" with police procedure, propose energy policy, decry the deficit....

Bush simply wants to defend America.

The essential difference between the two is that virtually every American voter agrees with Bush's single idea, whereas it would be almost impossible to find a single American voter who agreed with all of Kerry's.

Which explains the polls.

The End

The Kinsella kerfuffle has, for the moment, ended. Ian has posted a clarification and Kinsella has agreed to take no further action. Sean has removed the offending words in his post in exhange for Kinsella qualifying his more than a little overborad characterization of his detractors. I have posted a "lessons learned" piece over at Jim Elve's very valuable e-group.

Biggest lessons: stand your ground with bullies, the Canadian blogosphere will band together across party lines if one of its members is threatened with bogus legal action, bloggers are passionate about their right to express their opinions.

The strength of blogs lies in the network rather than any individual blog. Poke a stick into the hive and you are going to get stung.

Kinsella may want to get up to speed about blogging and he could do worse than to read the speech The Command Post's publisher Alan Nelson gave to the AP Managing Editors' convention:
Before the internet, information was governed by set distribution channels and gatekeepers … brokers … who decided who was able to have what. The stock broker had the price. The real estate agent had the prior housing report. The car salesman had your credit report.

And in news, the journalists had the facts, and the editors acted as brokers, making choices about what would be reported and what wouldn’t.

Not the case now. The Internet hates brokers. It KILLS brokers. Now, because of the Internet, everyone with a computer, an email address and a browser is a point of distribution … the only thing needed for information to “get out” is an interest on the part of one person to supply it, and a demand on the part of another person to have it.
the command post via instapundit