Monday, April 29, 2013

Your Daily Nazi: Help Save Canada's Hate Speech Law!

If you missed reading through one the links in my last post, the Harper Tories are trying to force Bill C-304 (which would repeal the hate-speech provision in the Canadian Human Rights Act) through the Senate before their late June convention so they can toss some red meat to the mouth breathers and prorogue parliament.  It is imperative that the Liberal Senators not allow this, even if it means sitting into July or later.  A prorogation could push back the bill's passage another year or two.  It would be interesting to have the gov's "soft on hate crimes"  record available  for the 2015 election.

Your Daily Nazi: Late Coda To Hechme Case

Richard Warman is still having to tell people it's lies:

The "Hechme allegation" was one of the stranger incidents in The Speechy Wars--the epic political battle over section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act  that began in 2008 and still grinds on in the Senate.  Two  Neo-Nazis managed to convince a good portion of the Canadian media establishment that government employees hijacked the wifi network of one Nelly Hechme in order to spy on said Neo-Nazis.  it was a lunatic assertion, for many reasons, and the various investigations that followed cleared everyone involved.  More than once, in fact.

But here's the interesting thing. At the time Macleans Magazine was one of the prime media suckers.  They let Mark Steyn defame one of the government employees in question on their website; they let Steyn accuse this man by name (not Richard, incidentally) of criminal acts that he did not commit.  The story still appears on the Macleans website!   Now, the fellow didn't sue them because, I am told, he doesn't do that kind of thing.  But Macleans has been asked many times by bloggers like myself and, I think, Dr. Dawg, to pull down the defamatory piece, for decency's sake.  Clearly that kind of plea cuts no ice with the crew over there.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dean Skoreyko Is A Kook

Here's his political resume.  Note that it ends in 2010.  That's because the B.C. Tories ditched him for being a kook, a line of thinking they might have applied fruitfully to some of their candidates for the current B.C.  provincial election.  But now Dean's angry at me--sweet, innocent little bunny BCL--for "spamming" his website.  Which is really only half true.  I do make a point of sending a brief comment to every one  of his posts--that comment is "Kook", sometimes with punctuation, sometimes without. Just so he knows he's a kook.  And Dean's right, I  do crave attention; so thanks for it, SUCKAH!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Wind Energy And Property Values In Ontario, Part Whatever...

An interesting decision came down this week re wind energy and property values in Ontario.  Before getting to the actual contents of it, though, lets see how the thing is being spun.  This piece from  is fairly typical:

An Ontario Superior Court of Justice has determined that landowners living near industrial wind turbine projects do suffer from diminished property values. The court accepts that 22% to 55% loss of property values is occurring today. 

It also gets things terribly wrong,  misreading the meaning of accepts in the relevant context.

What actually happened is that the wind developer, wpd. Canada Corporation, and the farm that has agreed to host the nascent project--Fairview Wind has not been built or even approved yet--moved a motion that the claims against them by nearby property owners be "dismissed in their entirety". They won, hands down.  However, as part of their legal strategy (all these screen shots are easier read if you click on them, by the way):

In other words, wpd. Canada said; "Lets conditionally accept the plaintiff's evidence of diminuation for the purpose of the motion so we can  get on to the legal issues that would arise even if they were true."  The judge said OK, and  found that even if the plaintiffs had suffered the diminuation of value  claimed, there was no case:

Even accepting the plaintiffs' claims, which the Judge did provisionally, the plaintiffs can't sue wpd. Canada just for announcing the publication of a Notice of Draft Site Plan, which is as far as Fairview Wind had ever got.  You can't sue somebody over environmental/health risks that do not yet exist.

So the judge handed a win to the wpd. Canada and invited the plaintiffs to come back when if ever the project had been taken further along in the approvals process.  At that point their evidence will be tested, challenged, and evaluated.  Contrary to the various newspaper stories, this has not happened yet.

Just a final note as to why wpd. Canada chose to go this route.  This is speculating, but I imagine challenging the plaintiff's evidence would have involved wading through tons of crap science and eventually hiring expert witnesses to go up against the other side's expert witnesses.  Fairview Wind is pretty early along in the approvals process to lay out that kind of money when a cheaper route to victory is available.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Canadians Abroad

Apr. 25, 2013 — The rediscovery of a mystery animal in a museum's underground storeroom proves that a non-native 'big cat' prowled the British countryside at the turn of the last century.

The animal's skeleton and mounted skin was analysed by a multi-disciplinary team of Durham University scientists and fellow researchers at Bristol, Southampton and Aberystwyth universities and found to be a Canadian lynx -- a carnivorous predator more than twice the size of a domestic cat.

A neat little discovery, and a good intro to Darren Naish, one of my favorite science bloggers, who has a much more detailed piece on the discovery here.  Darren's into crytozoology, among other things.  I've written about him before.

Ian Tootill And Libertarianism: A Final Note

The problem with being a Libertarian is that you live your life according a set of simple principles, and the logical implications of these principles.  Logic and principles can lead you to some pretty strange places in our moral universe.  And Libertarians never seem to understand how strange these places are  until they've got an angry mob on their ass.  Tootill's comments re Hitler were in service of an argument poo-pooing bullying and hate speech.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ian Tootill... toast., as I predicted he would be.  Why?  Because the B.C. Conservatives may grab a handful of seats this time out and don't want their best shot at respectability in ages queered by weirdos.

PS.  I am totally enjoying the B.C. election right now.  We're up to, what four candidates who've had to step down for dumb shit they've said on the Internet?  I'm flashing back to the 2008 federal, where BCLSB alone forced two candidates and one campaign manager to resign.  That was the golden age of CDN political blogging, as far as I'm concerned.

Will The LPoC Counter-Attack Ad Work?

How the heck am I supposed to know?  I will say one thing: you can watch this ad and not feel unclean at the end.  That in itself is in strong contrast to its Conservative counterparts.

Ian Tootill, Your Political Career Will Implode Now

“Who’s really to blame? Hitler or the people who acted on his words?”

“ ... We men love sluts ...”

And yes, that is his real name.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Edgar Schmidt Update

Schmidt is the federal government lawyer who revealed that his department has been told not to inform the government or opposition MPs when upcoming legislation is likely to fail subsequent legal scrutiny, and who has been suspended without pay as a result.  As Dennis Gruending notes, there have been a few new developments in the case.  Schmidt has also created a website for updates and where people can contribute to the cause.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Adrian Dix On Trans Mountain (Kinder Morgan) Pipeline

Announcing his environmental platform, Dix said he does "not expect Vancouver to become a major export oil port" as he said appears to be contemplated in the Kinder Morgan proposal.

Dix would not definitively rule out the project, saying the company has yet to submit a formal proposal.

But he said he it appears the company is looking to increase by "five or six fold" the amount of oil going through Vancouver, which he said an NDP government would not support.

Assuming Dix wins in B.C.--a pretty safe wager at this point--no pipeline to the West Coast will ever get built.  Meanwhile, Enbridge is trying to grease the skids for a Line 9 reversal to bring its product East, and running up against suspicious locals.  If Keystone XL is approved by the Obama administration, as seems increasingly likely, then I suspect the Harper government's support for all three other projects will soften.  They will fight for them, but not really.  2015 is too close by and B.C. has too many CPC seats for them to press for the first two; Quebec opposition, and the fact that it isn't a particularly profitable option in the first place, will take care of the third.

PS.  Dix has also apparently promised to expand the scope of B.C.'s carbon tax, thus burying once and for all memories of 2009 when the NDP's threat to repeal the tax blew the wheels of their campaign bus in week one of that election.

The End Of The Canadian Jewish News

With great sadness, I have to announce that The Canadian Jewish News will cease publishing its printed newspaper with its June 20 edition.

I never dreamed that I would be writing this. No nightmare of mine envisioned it.

For some time, we have known of the ravages that printed newspapers and magazines have been experiencing across the world. The digital age, in which news and commentary are retrieved instantly on smartphones, on computers and on all kinds of new devices, has overtaken the printed word. For the most part, the attractions of printed paper are welcome experiences only for an older generation and appear to be destined to be things of the past. Added to this that much of the world believes that news and commentary should be free.   

Newspapers depend for their existence on advertising. It is their lifeblood. Growing numbers of advertisers are no longer convinced that they will get responses to what they pay for in printed publications. Add to that the economic situation in effect over the past few years has left little monies for advertising.

While we were alert to what was happening around us, we hoped that The CJN, with its “niche” attraction, would not be like others, and that our print edition would survive and flourish. We made substantial operating changes, which we thought would assist. After careful analysis, we have concluded that they do not.  

 I feel worse when one of these niche/community papers goes down than when its something closer to the MSM.  Apparently, the CJN may try to go forward as a digital news service.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

FreeD Makes The Big Leagues: Norton Software Dubs It A "Hate" Site

So I was checking out the wifi at my new place by downloading a few software updates and got something from Norton that I didn't want (and have since uninstalled).  I find out about it when I cruise over to FreeD to wallow in teh crazy and see this (looks better when you click on it):
Now, FreeD's been pretty tame lately, especially since they kicked out Ed Kennedy.  And really, even at its worst, it was 95% lunatic conservatism, only 15% actual hate.  But whatever.  The folks at Norton have them on their official shit-list.  Whether they are deserving or not, I would be interesting in knowing how this list is compiled.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

B.C. Premier Christy Clark Is Hot

I would still vote NDP if I were out there.  Nevertheless, she is hot.  Very, very hot. That is all.

PS.   Actually, no it isn't quite all.  I am standing inside my new condo; the sectional just arrived.  I am officially a Scarberian now.  Where are my subways?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Next Time Someone Chides Anonymous

...for their allegedly reckless approach to the Rehtaeh Parsons case remind them how professional news organizations like the NY Post and CNN covered the Boston bombings.  Then tell them to get bent.

PS.  Haven't been writing much lately.  Am in the middle of a move.  Hopefully things will be a bit more active around here come May.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Boreal Forest Agreement Not Working?

Announced several years back as a game changing industry/NGO partnership, the  Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA) lost a key supporter today as conservation group Canopy pulled out of the agreement:

"This collaboration with the logging industry was supposed to be a game-changer for the protection of species and conservation in Canada's threatened Boreal forest," said Nicole Rycroft, Founder and Executive Director of Canopy. "The disappointing reality is that not one hectare of forest has been protected and species and ecosystems are still at risk."

Unfortunately, I am not in a position to judge the wisdom of Canopy's response here.  I've been operating on the assumption that if guys like Terence Corcoran and Peter Foster hated the CBFA, it must have at least a few redeeming qualities.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

More Sun Media Layoffs Coming?

Its starting to sound like it.  Toronto Sun Family has a new layoff forum up.  From it:

Web hits are down since the paywall went up, while social media "experts" are telling journalists to tweet more, post more often on Facebook, engage in every social media outlet out there, on top of writing 3-4 stories a day. 

Dear Americans: Don't Approve Keystone XL Because Of US

Because, try as they might, our government has failed to convince the majority of Canadians outside Alberta that we need a pipeline to the Gulf (or to the West Coast, for that matter):
Astounding, really, most polls of Americans show a mirror image of this result.  Mind you, their pipeline boosters are probably a little more talented than ours.

Damian Goddard's Case Dismissed

Nearly two years after sportscaster Damian Goddard was fired by Rogers Communications, the Canadian Human Rights Commission has dismissed his complaint in which he alleged that he was fired because he had publicly voiced support for the traditional definition of marriage.

On May 10, 2011, the former Connected star tweeted that he “completely and wholeheartedly” supports “the traditional and TRUE meaning of marriage.” Rogers immediately distanced themselves from the tweet, and then fired him within 24 hours.

When someone tells you that "the right" stays clear of the Canadian human rights apparatus, you can point to Goddard even if his case was thrown out (Rogers claims his dismissal had nothing to do with his opposition to SSM).  And, mind you, Pro-Life Hamilton fared much better with the OHRC; their ads ran in the end.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Are The New Anti-Trudeau Ads Effective?

How the heck should I know?  You can see 'em here and make up your own mind.  A couple of things; Trudeau was stripping down and wearing the stash for charity.  And the Quebec quote was a paraphrase of his dad.  Interesting too that they are first being launched down East, obviously in context of the upcoming Labrador byelection where the Liberals are way, way up at the moment.  If this doesn't change significantly, they can be spun as failures.  And, as for the "turning the other cheek" stuff, well, presumably Justin won't do his own rhetorical knifings a la the early Stephen Harper.  He will stay positive, and let others draw blood.  That would be my advice, anyway.

PS.  A Trudeau insider responds:

The Canadian Catholic Church, Then And Now

From Dennis Gruending on the 30th anniversary of the Canada’s Catholic bishops' report Ethical Reflections on the Economic Crisis:

“We are losing the tension between the church and the state in Canada. The government has seduced the hierarchy to provide a blessing for their policies. The leadership has been silenced and refuses to challenge the established order.”

This is in reference to stuff like this.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Cost Of Wind In Ontario

And concerning recent increases to the monthly energy bill:

The total cost of wind generation also increased from 2009 to 2012. This was due primarily to more wind generation coming into service. In all, the increased cost of wind generation accounted for about 5% of the increase in the total customer bill, or about 10% of the increase in the cost of electricity supply.

The report's author, mind you, is the Canadian Wind Energy Association, which is a trade association for wind power developers.  Mind you, they are writing in response to a Fraser Institute report (Environmental and Economic Consequences of Ontario’s Green Energy Act) authored by Ross McKitrick, so you might as well stamp "loony" on the cover of that baby.  And the math is pretty simple: the effect of wind energy on Ontario hydro bills is pretty small.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

LPoC Leadership Vote

Frankly, I was disappointed in Joyce Murray's speech at the LPoC showcase, and I have severe doubts as to whether her  plan for cooperation (A runoff???  A RUNOFF???) with the NDP and Greens has any hope of success.  But the concept of cooperation is an important one, even if the details haven't been satisfactorily worked out yet.  And she is the bearer of that concept within the LPoC.  Hence the rankings you see above.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

NDP Divided Over WWI!

The Frenchy thinks it was bad; the Anglo thinks it was good.  Sun News digs up a few geezers old enough to give a shit.  Federal Liberals stand to reap benefits.  LPoC leader-in-waiting Justin Trudeau rumoured ready to declare ancient conflict a "harshing of the national mellow but, like, I refuse to take a postion until I've had a conversation with the  grass roots." 

Should Anonymous Identify Rehtaeh Parsons' Tormentors?

WK ignited a crap storm yesterday when he tasked the hackivist group Anonymous with finding the identity of  four male teens who allegedly assaulted Miss. Parsons. Anon now claims to have done just that.  Furthermore, they have threatened to name names should it become apparent that the Nova Scotia authorities intend to do nothing further in what appears on the face of it to have been a case of gang-rape and subsequent cyber-bullying of the rape victim.

Some writers, like Chris Selley, have suggested that Kinsella and others are engaged in dangerous vigilantism.  I don't think so.

One thing that seems to have been overlooked is that much of the bullying took place over Facebook and other on-line forums.  Presumably Anon has IDed the four by digging through their on-line traces, and presumably, should they reveal their identities, they will do this on the basis of the material they have found, perhaps by re-publishing it.  If so, they will merely be regurgitating public statements made by the four suspects. I see nothing wrong with that.  I certainly don't see how it qualifies as vigilantism.

In fact, I think Selley and co. are ignoring the free speech angle in all of this.  They are essentially telling Anonymous (or whoever might identity the four males, as apparently there is more that one group looking for them) to self-censor the results of their on-line investigative work.  This is particularly hypocritical in Selley's case; he has always ready to go to the wall for the right to spew hate speech.  He is now asking that folks who may be in a position to forward the cause of Justice to keep their mouths shut.  That's hypocrisy of the worst sort.

PS. Dawg has a good post on this.

Love Letters To Dalton McGuinty

These two pieces overlap a bit, but together they are probably the best account's I've read of Ontario's long journey away from coal under Dalton McGuinty, something he doesn't get much credit for up here in Canada.  An excerpt from the first:

A decade ago, Ontario’s coal-fired power plants were responsible for the province’s largest water withdrawals, accounting for 1.8 billion cubic meters (475 billion gallons) of water taken annually for cooling and steam generation from rivers and Lake Ontario. The province’s coal-fired plants were built with once-through cooling systems, meaning that, after passing through the plants, most of that moisture was returned to the environment as hot water.

Next year, though, Canada’s most populous and industrialized province is scheduled to complete a 21st-century environmental clean-up project that distinguishes it among North American jurisdictions.

After a decade of work by the Liberal Party government, Ontario is scheduled to close the last of its big coal-fired generators at the end of this year, leaving a single small coal-fired unit available during periods of peak electrical demand until it closes next year. In shutting down the province’s 19 boilers fueled by coal, Ontario will no longer need fresh water to operate a coal-fired generating sector that provided one-quarter of its electricity, and the province will become the first industrial region on the continent to eliminate coal-fired generation.

I might have said this before, but when I first moved to T.O. big smog clouds would blow in every summer and hang over the city for days at a time, so thick that you could taste the chemicals in your sweat.  Not good for asthmatics, or anyone really.  You don't see them anymore, and some of the thanks has to go to McGuinty era policies.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Future Without Cheese...

Spent all morning in Emerge at North York General.  Turns out my wife has gallstones.  Not the immediately dangerous kind, thank goodness, but surgery down the road.  Also, a low fat diet forever,  for my wife and, since I live with her, for me too I suppose.  Alas.

Monday, April 08, 2013

The Guy Who Said Of Child Pornography's just pictures, is back in The Globe.  And Margaret Wente remains there.  Globe is all but invisible behind its firewall these days.  I'm not sure its worth boycotting.

The New Angus Reid Premier Numbers

Dan Arnold (Calgary Grit) says the most important thing about the Ontario Premier`s number (36% approval) is:

3. A lot of Ontarians still haven’t made up their minds about Kathleen Wynne.

But I think the real story is its noticeably better than the previous Ontario Premier's number (32%). And since the budget will almost certainly pass, our gal`s got clear sailing until 2014.

And, incidentally, here's a picture with both Dan and me in it (as well as Deb Coyne, Omar, Kyle, Scott Tribe, Jennifer Smith, and Bryan Crockett ).
Dan likes to stand in the middle of these pics because he's always the thinnest guy in the room.  That`s me seated far left.

The shot is from here

Tommy Douglas...Commie?

Probably not, but according to Dennis Gruending the RCMP spied on the guy for decades without coming to any firm conclusion.  Didn't they have some kind of test?  Like tie Tommy Douglas up with rope and throw him in the river and if he sinks he's innocent?

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Murray, Trudeau, And Showcase Wrap-Up

My computer's battery died before I could finish this yesterday.  But onward!

Joyce Murray gave a strong, substantive speech.  You can watch it here.  And  it went over fairly well, generally speaking, though the showcase crowd gave fairly muted responses to all of the speakers other than Justin.  However, when Murray  got into a discussion of how her "one time" cooperative deal with the NDP and Green Party would actually work, she seemed to lose people. And no wonder: you get your nomination and you have to engage in a "run-off" with the Green and NDP candidate for a chance to take on the local Tory.  That's almost like having to win a nomination twice; and two campaigns sound twice as expensive.

Certainly, Murray's promoting cooperation got nowhere the applause that Justin's denunciation of the same idea did.  And, say what you will about Justin Trudeau, he has learned how to give a speech, his presentation being head and shoulders above the other potentials.  Although, this morning, I am still struggling to recall the details of any policy proposals he might have mentioned: he's for Keystone, against Northern Gateway. respects the West, and yada yada yada.

As to the others, Martha Hall Findlay  was surprisingly non-abrasive.  And while Martin Cauchon, the last of the candidates up, spoke on I was reminded of that scene in Woodstock where Jimmy Hendrix plays to an empty field.  Cauchon must have looked out at the room as the crowd trickled away and thought "There's $75,000 I won't see again."

Overall I'd note that this leadership go round has been fought pretty cleanly, especially when compared to 2006. I can't see the same kind of divisions going forward,  though there were plenty of jokes told about "anonymous liberals" around the showcase floor.  In fact, Jeff Jedras (with the Coyne campaign) told a funny story about how he was quoted anonymously in a media piece when he had not requested it.  I guess its more fun for the media to pretend its all about back-stabbing in the LPC.  Thankfully, it isn't.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Bob Rae And First Notes

So,  a quick technical note: the convention centre had wifi but no power for bloggers; Hoops (the pub I went to) had power but no wifi network.  This was scratched out in word and popped into blogger, as I wanted my battery power for the Murray/Trudeau speeches.  But then wifi access crapped out at the Metro center.  So I am listening to Justin Now.  That post will come a bit later.

Bob Rae is effortlessly charming, and can hold forth into triple overtime without notes.  His speech was, as Kady O'Malley noted, a gentle lecture in party unity.  The best bit: "I wanted to be LPC leader in the worst way, and it looks like I got my wish."  Folks who are old enough to remember, will remember that he used an almost identical line back in 1990 when his NDP won power in Ontario at the beginning of  what turned out to be a vicious recession: "I wanted to be premier in the worst way..." and etc.  Like the line Dief used throughout his career, in variations:  "The honourable Member thinks he is being witty; he is only half right."

And speaking of  Bob's years as NDP Premier, the tribute to him skipped those entirely.  It was as though Bob slipped into a coma the whole half decade.

In other notes, after all the complaining about slow ticket sales, it looks like standing room only in Hall E.  I'd be pissed, in fact, if I had forked out for a ticket.

Travels In LiberalLand

I have been granted the honor of blogging the LPoC showcase downtown today.  I take these things seriously, so I will probably try to write a quick post about each of the candidates pitch speeches, though this ambition may get scaled back to Joyce and Justin's.  Maybe MHF's if I'm in a bad mood and want to hurl abuse.  Physically, I will be there for at least part of the show so as to absorb the triumphant vibe that surely must emanate from such a transplendant coagulation of Liberalness, but  may skip out the boring bits (ie any musical tributes).  Again, I'm not sure what I'll do when Ms. Findlay speaks; I may stick around  to observe how quickly the room turns against her.  I'm bringing one of those fancy digital stop-watches that can measure to the 1/100th of a second.

Otherwise I will be splitting time among ancillary events, particularly the Progblogs do at Omar's place.

As to the issue of slow ticket sales, I'm told this problem has been overblown.  Its also been rumored that the LPoC has tasked ex MP Joe Volpe with scaring up a few extra bodies.  So we'll see if my dead grandma is in attendance.

I will also be on twitter for the event. where I write as @Bigcitylib2.  At some point soon, though not necessarily today, I will endorse one of the candidates.  Not that anyone cares.  But I will.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Justin Trudeau Comes Out In In Favor Of Trans Mountain Pipeline

At least I think that is what this means, as Justin has given a pretty clear "no" to Northern Gateway.  Trans Mountain  has been flying mostly under the radar, and has a somewhat better chance of getting built than NG, for reasons I examine here.

Thomas Nagel, Darwin, God, And Other Boring Shit

Dr. Dawg has a post up where he discusses Thomas Nagel's new book, Mind And Cosmos, and the alleged persecution of Nagel over his "heretical" views re Science, Darwin, God, and other such weighty matters. Don't be ashamed if you haven't heard of the man or his book.  In fact in this post I will argue that you can feel secure in your ignorance.  The guy's a philosopher and he's engaged in a  philosophical debate; these things typically don't amount to much.

And as I write this I admit that I have not read Mr. Nagel's book, and do not intend to.

In any case, Dawg says that Nagel's book has triggered "shrieks of outrage" from the "scientific community".  Well, to start with I think that's an overstatement.  Nagel has written a work of anglo-american-analytic philosophy; other anglo-american-analytic philosophers have given it a pan.  I suspect that 99.99999% of the scientists on this planet will not read Nagel's book, and wouldn't give a flyer even if they knew what was in it.

But I think the more important point here is that Dawg and most others who've written  about Nagel seem surprised by the amount of venom that's getting slung about; they seem to think its unusual for academe, or perhaps for philosophy in particular.  It's not.

I remember, for example, a weekend conference I attended back in the early 1980's.    On day one Keith Donnellan  got into it with David Lewis.  They were arguing trans-world identity conditions--how can we tell if Nixon is Nixon in some possible world that is not our own.  Donnellan had drawn a little stick figure of Nixon on the black-board behind his lectern.  He'd even drawn a little hat on Nixon to highlight some point or another, and circled the hat with a quick flourish.  Lewis got up, walked over the the blackboard...and erased Nixon's hat!  Nervous laughter rippled through the crowd!

But that wasn't even the highlight of the weekend.   Day two featured a debate between a philosopher of biology and another kind of philosopher of biology.  The two men were arguing over whether it was best to employ the notion of species or the notion of population.  Lewis, who was clearly feeling his oats after the previous day's encounter, had already declared their whole discussion to be without philosophical content which got everyone quite excited.  But then some fellow in the audience got up and began aggressively questioning the two guys on stage.  He, it turned out, was some kind of neo-catastrophist.  A real heretic! Our two biology guys started firing back and, well, lets just say that hair almost got pulled that day, specs almost got busted!

So its important to realize that the stir over Nagel's book is just that.  A stir.  These things happen all the time.  Think mixed  martial arts for nerds.

As to the actual arguments in the book, well whatever.  They seem to be the same old dualist vs. physicalist stuff that philosophers have been bumping heads over for centuries, to no avail.  Any concept of God that's likely to emerge won't get you  close to Jesus riding in on a dinosaur 6,000 years ago, so it is politically without consequence.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Order Of Speeches At LPoC Showcase

CIBC: Keystone XL Not Enough

"'s increasingly important that Canada move on one or more of the alternative pipelines to get our product headed Asia's way. Canada's own central and eastern oil markets are another option, but longer term demand growth there is also likely to be lackluster."

Its worth noting TransCanada Corps. stock price after yesterday's announcement that they would push forward with an West-East line.

A few twitches.  So the market is unimpressed. That leaves The Harper Gov. trying to ram Northern Gateway and Trans Mountain down B.C.s throat.  Still.

Enbridge Springs Another Leak

I mentioned this a week or so ago; it was the fourth leak since February, and it looks like there will finally be some consequences:

The National Energy Board has ordered Enbridge Pipeline Inc. to perform an engineering assessment on the Wrigley to Mackenzie section of the Norman Wells pipeline.


NEB spokesperson Rebecca Taylor said the assessment is part of a special order issued by the board.

“The board remains concerned about the recent discoveries of small leak sites on Line 21,” she said. “That’s why the board has issued the amending order to Enbridge and required them to take additional action.”

The order requires an engineering assessment, due by June 30, and an assessment of the company’s leak detection methods, which is due on April 5. The assessment will evaluate “the fitness-for-service of the line Section from a leak-dependent perspective,” the order stated

The bigger issue is whether the leaks signify a large scale deterioration in the pipeline as a whole, which might mean having to replace segments rather than merely patch them.  The article doesn't mention Enbridge's reaction to this possibility.  Their past practices, however, suggest the company's most probable response.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Ethical Oil--Still Dead?

Back in December 2012, former Executive Director of the Ethical Oil Institute Jamie Ellerton wrote:

I remain with Ethical Oil as the part-time spokesperson. Stay tuned for what's to come in the new year.

Four months into the new year, and the stench of death still envelopes their website.  E-mails to Jamie (last one sent in February) have gone unanswered.  Halloo?   Haaalllooooo?