Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Little Bit Of Canadian History

I remember learning about Darcy McGee way back in the Stone Age - er - high school. I don't remember anything about him today, but this video is very, very interesting. It concerns who actually killed him. The man who was accused, tried and given the death penalty may very well have been innocent.

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Why The NDP Will Never...

Keep Up The Pressure...

...folks. Some day it will happen:

Tories petition to scrap CBC

Note to self: Must send a message to Brian Jean, CCing to Stephen Harper, telling them I wholeheartedly agree.

UPDATE: Message sent. Here's what I said:
"I want to congratulate Brian Jean for his efforts towards privatizing the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and let the rest of those receiving this message know that I wholeheartedly agree with the idea that a publicly funded broadcaster is not needed. A state funded broadcaster has no place in a democratic country, especially given that there is so much alternative media available. CBC has an unfair advantage over its competitors. Its bias is outrageous and there seems to be no way for me to protest my dislike for the organization. A publicly funded institution provides no mechanism for citizens to register their approval or disapproval of what it offers, short of sending letters and at the ballot box, hence, they are not accountable to those who pay the piper. A publicly funded broadcaster does not depend on advertisers, who in turn depend on people like me watching/listening to its broadcasts. As a Canadian citizen, I feel the use of my tax dollars toward supporting this agency is anathema to freedom and citizen sovereignty. A publicly funded broadcaster belongs in some petty third-world dictatorship, not in a proud and free country like Canada. Please continue the effort until the task is accomplished."
It was sent to Jean and CC'd to the PM, the Minister responsible for the CBC, James Moore, and my own MP (who happens to be the speaker of the house, Andrew Sheer).

If you want to do the same to your own select group of MPs you can find email addresses here.

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Hey Obama...

I Wonder What The...

I wonder what the Met Office and the folks at East Anglia University have to say about this. I'd really love to read their spin. I'm betting they'd say something like "It would have been worse if not for the human produced CO2 in the atmosphere":

Winter cold snap kills 36 in Europe

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Me Thinks The Castro Brothers...

...could take lessons from CBC fans. Those whose comments litter the comments section of the CBC's web based news stories:

Bash America: The Castros play to their base in Cuba

CBC fans, with the approval of the CBC of course:

Defence agreements signed with U.S.

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Did you know Stalin's mother had hoped he would become a priest?

I didn't either, but that's just one little bit of fascinating history detailed in this excellent series of videos about the history of Christianity. You know me. I love history and it's little bits like this that make history come alive.

The bit about Stalin comes in "Part 3.Orthodoxy", that great branch of Christianity that split from Rome long, long before the Western Reformation, the one that was centered for many centuries in places like Constantinople (modern Istanbul), Antioch and Baghdad.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Yes, I Do Believe We Are...

UPDATED AND BUMPED: Forget global warming - it's Cycle 25 we need to worry about (and if NASA scientists are right the Thames will be freezing over again)

Met Office releases new figures which show no warming in 15 years
"The supposed ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planet has not warmed for the past 15 years.

The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th Century.

Based on readings from more than 30,000 measuring stations, the data was issued last week without fanfare by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. It confirms that the rising trend in world temperatures ended in 1997."
Say what? The MET Office? The University of East Anglia?? Saints preserve us. They're now backtracking as if Climategate never happened.
"Meanwhile, leading climate scientists yesterday told The Mail on Sunday that, after emitting unusually high levels of energy throughout the 20th Century, the sun is now heading towards a ‘grand minimum’ in its output, threatening cold summers, bitter winters and a shortening of the season available for growing food.

Solar output goes through 11-year cycles, with high numbers of sunspots seen at their peak.

We are now at what should be the peak of what scientists call ‘Cycle 24’ – which is why last week’s solar storm resulted in sightings of the aurora borealis further south than usual. But sunspot numbers are running at less than half those seen during cycle peaks in the 20th Century.

Analysis by experts at NASA and the University of Arizona – derived from magnetic-field measurements 120,000 miles beneath the sun’s surface – suggest that Cycle 25, whose peak is due in 2022, will be a great deal weaker still.

According to a paper issued last week by the Met Office, there is a 92 per cent chance that both Cycle 25 and those taking place in the following decades will be as weak as, or weaker than, the ‘Dalton minimum’ of 1790 to 1830. In this period, named after the meteorologist John Dalton, average temperatures in parts of Europe fell by 2C.

However, it is also possible that the new solar energy slump could be as deep as the ‘Maunder minimum’ (after astronomer Edward Maunder), between 1645 and 1715 in the coldest part of the ‘Little Ice Age’ when, as well as the Thames frost fairs, the canals of Holland froze solid."
But, but, but,...that's not what we've been told by our betters.
"Yet, in its paper, the Met Office claimed that the consequences now would be negligible – because the impact of the sun on climate is far less than man-made carbon dioxide."
Oh, I see. I knew there had to be an explanation. /sarc

Yes folks. The great climb-down-while-covering-your-ass is in full swing.

=======Original Post Starts Here========

No Need to panic about global warming
"A candidate for public office in any contemporary democracy may have to consider what, if anything, to do about "global warming." Candidates should understand that the oft-repeated claim that nearly all scientists demand that something dramatic be done to stop global warming is not true. In fact, a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed."
"In spite of a multidecade international campaign to enforce the message that increasing amounts of the "pollutant" carbon dioxide will destroy civilization, large numbers of scientists, many very prominent, share the opinions of Dr. Giaever. And the number of scientific "heretics" is growing with each passing year. The reason is a collection of stubborn scientific facts.

Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now. This is known to the warming establishment, as one can see from the 2009 "Climategate" email of climate scientist Kevin Trenberth: "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't." But the warming is only missing if one believes computer models where so-called feedbacks involving water vapor and clouds greatly amplify the small effect of CO2.

The lack of warming for more than a decade—indeed, the smaller-than-predicted warming over the 22 years since the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing projections—suggests that computer models have greatly exaggerated how much warming additional CO2 can cause. Faced with this embarrassment, those promoting alarm have shifted their drumbeat from warming to weather extremes, to enable anything unusual that happens in our chaotic climate to be ascribed to CO2."
"Although the number of publicly dissenting scientists is growing, many young scientists furtively say that while they also have serious doubts about the global-warming message, they are afraid to speak up for fear of not being promoted—or worse."

PS: I wonder how long it will take useful idiots like Saskboy to climb down. I don't expect they will ever admit they were wrong or duped. They'll just quietly slink away, hoping we don't notice.

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The Verdict Heard Round The World

Graffiti Warfare...

...in the streets of Cairo:
"The face of Khaled Said, a young man whose beating death at the hands of police officers in 2010 helped fuel the anti-Mubarak uprising, even appeared briefly on the walls of the Interior Ministry, the daunting security headquarters that few would dare even approach in the past.

Other pieces mock members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the council of generals that is now in power, or figures from Mubarak’s regime.

When a police officer was captured on an Internet video shooting at the eyes of protesters during clashes, his image immediately dotted walls, urging people to find the “Eye-Sniper.”

State television is another frequent target because it has become the mouthpiece for the military’s proclamations that protesters are vandals, thugs and part of a plot to throw Egypt into chaos."
"“It’s about a message in the street. It reaches the poor, the rich, the trash collector, the taxi driver,” graffiti artist Karim Gouda said. “Most of these people are away from the Internet and the social networking world so it’s a way to reach them.”"
"“It’s liberating to see,” blogger Soraya Morayef said of the proliferation of street art.

Morayef, who has dedicated her blog Suzeeinthecity to documenting graffiti artists’ work, said the street art reflects what happened in the whole country.

“The fear barrier was broken,” she said."

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Around the world in too many ways
"If you're reading this at home, in the comfort of a warm, dry armchair, then shame on you: why are you not sailing solo round the world, rowing naked across the Atlantic or walking to the South Pole on your hands?"


Saturday, January 28, 2012

I Love Stories Like This

Lego Man's trip to space wins international recognition:

From New York, ABC, the UK, L.A. and Australia,
====Original Starts Here=======
Of course there's sourpusses in the comments nitpicking about irrelevant stuff, but these two kids show all the signs of two young men who will accomplish great things in their lives. Well done fellows. And good luck in your future.


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Immigration Reform Coming

Tories pitching 'significant' immigration reform
"Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told Sun News Network on Thursday one of the biggest changes will be to "invite businesses to go overseas, recruit the people who they think will work well in their companies, give them those job offers, and then we'll bring them in (to Canada) on a super-fast basis."

But the Tories will also change the system that grades prospective immigrants on their language and work skills, among other factors, to determine whether they'll be allowed to come live in Canada.

"In 2012, we will be reforming our federal points system, called our Skilled Worker Program, to attract those people who we know, based on research, are most likely to succeed - younger immigrants, people with pre-arranged jobs in Canada, folks with higher levels of income," said Kenney."
And there's not a damn thing the Libs and Dippers can do about it.

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It Doesn't Get Any Better...

...than this:

"More bad news for the NDP: 40 per cent of Canadians haven’t heard of any of the eight candidates in the leadership race, according to a new online poll.
Even worse, 35 per cent of New Democrats could not recognize the candidates running to replace the late Jack Layton. The campaign to decide Canada’s next official opposition leader – basically the prime minister-in-waiting – is to be decided in less than two months, on March 24 in Toronto."
I'm so sad.

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At The Next Winter Olympics

Will this be the "demonstration" sport?

Those Vikings!!  Tsk!! Tsk!!

For the full flavour of the event, be sure to read the comment.

h/t: The Jawa Report

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Big Changes In Indian Affairs?

Or more of the same?

There's no doubt about it. Earlier this month Stephen Harper broke an old pattern and reached across the great divide offering a serious effort to change the current, chronic, deplorable situation, and there's something to be said about the willingness of Shawn Atleo to cooperate with the Feds. Not only is that refreshing, it's also nearly unheard of in the history of the Assembly of First Nations.  But then again, Shawn Atleo has been less than totally successful in bridging the chasm between factions within the Assembly itself. (The prairie Treaty Indian bloc being the largest, but certainly not the only, bugaboo.)

But there's something about this initiative that puts it in the same league as the major rewrite of the Indian Act in 1951. (For those who don't know, the Indian Act was amended in 1951 after an extensive consultation process with Indians, the transcript of which was published in 1948. It was among the first times that the Feds actually consulted with First Nations, but certainly not the last, despite what you may have heard from the loudmouth prairie Indian leaders over the past forty years.)

The consulting process invited both personal appearances and written submissions by Indian chiefs and private individuals. It is interesting to note that the recommendations made in some of those submissions were actually implemented as policies in the years that followed, a prime one being the closure of day schools on reserves and the busing of Indian children to nearby town schools.  In other words, integration, not Indian control (the call for which came much later) was what the Indians themselves had endorsed.

The 1951 rewrite of the Indian Act removed the most egregious clauses such as the ones that forbad ceremonies like the Sundance and Potlatch, although to listen to the Indian Industry's barking (especially the academic wing) over the last forty years you'd think these things were still in the Act - and that some things, like the pass system, were actually in the act, although it never was and had been abandoned as a policy before the 1951 rewrite.

The original Indian Act was passed in 1876. It was a consolidation of several previous pieces of legislation.  Even though Treaties 6,  7 and 8 (all of which are prairie treaties) hadn't yet been negotiated, when the Act received Royal Assent in 1876, it was made to apply to those regions which subsequently came under the terms of those three treaties. In other words, both Britain and Canada did not view those territories as sovereign Indian territory.

The history of Indian/Government relations over the subsequent 106 years since the original Indian Act was passed, on the prairies in any case, passes through four  phases.  The first phase, characterized by the negotiation of treaties on the prairies and vigorous attempts by the federal government to assimilate the Indians, lasted until the first or second or so decade of the 20th century.  Following that, until the end of WWII, was a period maintenance of the status quo coupled with indifference and neglect. Nothing new happened. The missionary zeal which had characterized the earlier phase had succumbed to disillusionment. The Feds had basically given up on the active openly stated and generally agreed upon assimilationist goal, and ceased boasting about fictitious progress toward that goal.

Following WWII, initiatives such as the rewrite of the Indian Act and the consultative process that preceded it mark the beginning of the third phase, and in the 1960s, with the comprehensive study and report known as the Hawthorn-Tremblay Report, in which the dire straits and impoverished conditions that existed on reserves was noted and documented, was probably its high-water mark. This lasted until the infamous White Paper on 1969, which advocated the complete abolition of reserves and the Indian Act, but which was thoroughly rejected by First Nations themselves.  One of the final initiatives of the Parliament of Canada during the third stage was the establishment of a Standing Committee on Indian Affairs.  Standing Committees dealing with Indian Affairs have existed ever since. First Nations people regularly appear before the committee and/or submit briefs. First Nations people sit on the Committee.  It is simply not true that governments in the past forty plus years are failed to consult, Indian Industry rhetoric, notwithstanding.

The most recent phase was marked by:
  • a transfer of power and authority to First Nations band councils and provincial and national Indian organizations; 
  • the growth of funding made available for the advancement of various causes; 
  • the growth of massive corruption and mismanagement, with an industry of lawyers, academics, consultants and politicians at the trough spinning never-ending tales of blame, providing lists of excuses designed to encourage the rest of us to turn a blind eye and intimidate us into submission.  
Principle among these tales was the assertion that an Indian's word is to be taken at face value, no questions asked, but written documents, documents that clearly show the land was ceded, documents like the Indian Act, that applied to territory that had yet to be ceded under treaty, aren't worth the paper they are printed on.

Does this Harper initiative have a snowball's chance of actually putting an end to that, the most recent era?  Will the initiative be different from so many of the past ones?  Will remote reserves, those in the north and far away from the cities, actually start to see economic growth? I doubt it. There's much more to the problem than just the Indian Act, although it certainly is an obstacle. But unless some of the really hard problems, such as local corruption and lack of accountability to rank and file reserve members, the poor quality of education at the reserve level, which is now run principally by First Nations themselves, etc., are acknowledged and met head on, nothing will change.

As long as weasels like Perry Belgarde can claim that the Treaties did not deal with mineral rights, and therefore Indians still own them, or that the obligation to provide housing* derives from Treaty negotiations, AND POLITICIANS BELIEVE THEM, the future doesn't look any brighter than the past. There are far too many entrenched interests making a good living, Perry Belgarde being one, to allow that to happen.

Hopefully, I'll be proven wrong.

*The federal government began to provide housing on reserves in the late 1940s. It was part of the general tenor of the times, when ideas which are today considered "socialist" in nature (and in the generations preceding that era, would have been considered completely untenable) had gained acceptance and had found their way into government policy. (Delano Roosevelt's New Deal is an early example.)  According to accounts of the treaty negotiators, Indians in the Treaty 6 area were promised that they would never lack for a place to call home. But this was clearly a reference to the reserve lands that had yet to be set up, not to individual private dwellings for families to live in, although the Indian Industry has promoted the later as the correct and only interpretation.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

One Or Two More Laughs

Someone From England...

...visited my blog this morning, having used the following keywords:

"russian proper gander posters"

LOL!! I kid you not. I can only hope s/he wasn't a native Brit.

Thanks for the laugh, anyway.

I wonder what an "improper" gander would do to distinguish itself from a "proper" gander? Would it be good for the goose? (Groan)

Oh, and someone from California was looking for "Italian men with stubble."  Sorry to disappoint, but computers are stupid that way.  It's not my fault.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pardon Me...

...while I giggle:

A Jew writes about an event in a Muslim country:
"In Israel, I watched as the protests grew and then turned violent, with protesters continuing to fight back. Something was changing in Egypt.

Fast forward a year to January 25, 2012. Again, it was a national holiday, but it has been rechristened: National Revolution Day."
That's right. Rechristened.

And on the anniversary, Tahrir Square is filled again:
"Angie Balata, an Egyptian-Canadian living in Cairo who participated in the protests during the uprising, said there was still "a lot to fight about" one year later.

"It's been just a lot of chaos, a lot of violence, a lot of sadness, really," Balata told CBC News Network. "I think that the year started off really great with the start of the revolution. But definitely the feeling today, and the feeling that I have personally, is that the revolution continues. We're not close to … having the demands that we wanted to be realized."
""Unfortunately, this hasn't happened, and we're not close to it," Balata said from Cairo. "The military has taken over, and that's a lot of the reason why there's a lot of sadness. I mean, a lot of people have died since the revolution. A lot of people are in prison."

But the protests have broken Egypt's long-standing "barrier of fear," she said.

"People do go out on the streets, and they say how they feel and they say their opinions. And they get out and they fight for their rights. And that in itself is one of the greatest accomplishments," Balata said."
""As far as an anniversary goes, this is not — as people who've been protesting for a year, who started protesting a year ago — a celebration," he told CBC News."
"Modaz Abdul-Hamid, a doctor in Mahalla el-Kubra, told CBC News that residents thought the changes were going to occur immediately after the revolution.

"We thought that it was going the right way, but now, you're not so sure, " he said in Arabic. "Just the president went away. All the other reforms have not happened yet.""
I repeat. A revolution is more than just the overthrow of a dictator. It doesn't happen overnight.


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An Anniversary

One year on, Terry Glavin examines Egypt's Tahrir Square revolution. As I've told you folks, it ain't over yet. Revolutions are normally years in the making. The mere overthrow of a government doesn't qualify.

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The Latest...

...from Julian Assange:

The Breathtaking Hypocrisy of Julian Assange, Kremlin Pawn
"That’s right: Assange, self-styled foe of government secrets and conspiracies of the powerful, is going to be a star on a TV network backed by the Kremlin. The same Kremlin that has done suspiciously little to investigate or prevent the killings and beatings of journalists that have plagued Russia for more than a decade. The same Kremlin accused of blatant fraud in December’s parliamentary elections. The same Kremlin whose control of the country’s broadcast media allowed it to suppress coverage of the massive protests mounted in response to that fraud. The same Kremlin whose embrace of corruption led to Russia being named “the world’s most corrupt major economy” by Transparency International in 2011.

And so on. That Kremlin is Julian Assange’s new patron.

The same Julian Assange who accused President Obama of putting “a chill across investigative journalism” by prosecuting Army leaker Bradley Manning."
"Actually, though, maybe it makes sense. After all, Assange has said “it’s an international disgrace that so few western journalists have been killed in the course of duty, or have been arrested in the course of duty.” Russian journalists certainly aren’t disgracing themselves in that regard: They’ve been dying by the dozens, and their murders are seldom solved: Only three of the 33 murders of journalists committed in Russia since 1993 have been solved,..."

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And I Betcha He Thinks We Should...

...feel sorry for him.
"Terrorist Momin Khawaja was physically attacked by another inmate and burned with boiling water and chemicals, his father says.

Khawaja, the first person ever charged under Canada's anti-terror laws, is serving a life sentence at a super-maximum security federal prison in Quebec."

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Reading Habits From Mars

As promised a while back, here is the blog entry about my strange reading habits. I'll dive right in, then give you a list of some of my books.

First of all, I never, ever read fiction. I find it extremely boring. And although I am a librarian, I never borrow books from a library. I want to own the books I read. Besides that, my habits don't fit with the necessity of returning books on time, even if there are one or two renewal/extension periods provided by most libraries. Some librarian, huh. (And no, I don't wear my glasses down at the end of my nose and I don't run around telling people to shush up. Librarians generally don't do that. We tend to be people who love books and value knowledge and learning and are driven by a desire to help other people acquire knowledge and the habit of life-long learning. Heck, when I was in library school at the U of W O, the library students (mostly women) had the reputation for being the rowdiest bunch at the Graduate Student's Society's pub, which made us quite proud. Always eager to shatter myths, those crafty librarians.)

I normally have several books on the go at the same time. My favourite topics are history, social/political issues and science. I never seem to have time to read them in a timely fashion and I often don't finish them.

I have three thick books about history on the go right now. It is the thick books that I often don't finish. I often quit about 2/3rd of the way through and start another one, or read a thin book, another reason I prefer to buy my books rather than borrow them.

Examples of books that I have started and then put aside in the past year or so:

1. Heaven and Earth: Global warming, the missing science;

2. Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire

3. The Movement and the Sixties: Protest in America from Greensboro to Wounded Knee.

I started the first one, many, many months ago, put it down, and just last week, picked it up again and decided to finish it. The second one I bought from either Amazon.ca or Chapters.Indigo.ca (can't remember which) many, many months ago and the third I picked up at a library book sale. Libraries, at least public and academic libraries, have to get rid of old books that are no longer being borrowed in order to make room for the new stuff that people/professors are demanding. The discarded books go really cheap. And if you work in a library, discarded books can sometimes be yours for the taking. (Secrets of the trade.) In any case, I will get back to all the three thick books that I have started recently and abandoned.

Although there are usually book reviews on the two "bookstore" websites next to the description and the ordering info for their books, I know that they will not include any unfavourable reviews, so it's obviously slanted and meant to sell more books. But I order the books anyway, just because the subject matter deals with one of my favourite subjects and the description sounds interesting. Besides, if a publisher considers a manuscript unsalable, they won't publish it, so if it's good enough for the publisher, it's good enough for me.

But I also have numerous thin and thinner books. (Bet you didn't know librarians describe books by their physical properties, did you? Thin, thick, red, blue, green. These are all highly technical terms from library science, as much (or more so) as classification and call numbers.) Frankly, I think the thick books are just poorly written. The thinner ones are written with great precision and no wasted words. There is little or no repetition, as there sometimes is with the thick ones. Heaven and Earth is especially bad on that count. It must have been written in a hurry. The author is a scientist, not a professional writer. But that's what editors are for. Publishers should make sure their books are properly edited. But I digress.

Anyway, some of my favourites are:

Plagues and Peoples (William H. McNeill): This book is about the role played by epidemics in the course of history. Very interesting.

Pox Americana: The great smallpox epidemic of 1775-82 (Elizabeth A. Fenn) A similar theme to Plagues and Peoples, this one deals with the effects of a smallpox epidemic that raged during the American Revolution.

Mapping Human History: Discovering the past through our genes (Steve Olson); This book describes how the history of homo sapiens and their migrations can be revealed by the genetic code found in human populations today. Very interesting.

American Alone (Mark Steyn) Steyn's classic work on the decline of Western Civilization (except the only place where it isn't in decline).

A World Lit Only By Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance: Portrait of an age (William Manchester) The title suffices to tell you what the book is about. One of the most interesting feature in the book is a narrative about the voyage undertaken by Ferdinand Magellan, the first man to circumnavigate the globe, proving to his contemporaries that the earth was, indeed, round, along with several other things about the planet.

The American Revolution (Edward Countryman) This is more a social history than anything else. I did find it a bit hard to understand because it makes frequent mention of events and individuals that I am not familiar with. I think some basic grounding in the topic would have prepared me to better understand it. But, nevertheless, I still found it very interesting and learned a lot about the significance of the American revolution in the broader world.

Anti-Americanism (Jean-Francois Revel) A great little book by a Frenchman, that picks apart, and leaves shredded on the floor, many of the memes promoted by European leftists with their ethnocentric, snobbish, phony contempt for America. A fascinating read.

What's So Great About America (Dinesh D'Souza) Same thing.

But seriously, not all my books are about the US. I just happened to grab a bunch off my bookshelves and carted them downstairs to my computer room.

Left Out: Saskatchewan's NDP and the relentless pursuit of mediocrity (John Gormley) The title is a play on words. John Gormley is a talk-radio host of the conservative persuasion. His book is a finely crafted evisceration of Saskatchewan's NDP. There's not much left of them, by the end of the book.

The Conflict of European and Eastern Algonkian Cultures 1504-1700: A study in Canadian Civilization (Alfred Goldsworthy Bailey) This is an excellent account, relying heavily on the Jesuit Relations, of the first encounters between, as the title says, European and Indian cultures. It was written long before political correctness entered the scene and made truth-telling verboten.

The European and the Indian: Essays in the Ethnohistory of Colonial North America (James Axtell) Another book in the same tradition, Axtell tells the truth about contact between Europeans and native Americans. One of the best essays in the collection is about the history of scalping and the preponderance of evidence relating to its North American origin.

Scalping and Torture (Frederici, Nadeau, Knowles) A skinny little book (my favourite kind) that documents clearly and proves that native North Americans practiced both of these techniques (now a taboo subject, of course, but this book consists of three essays first published in 1906, 1940 and 1941) long before the current PC nonsense arose.

The Ecological Indian (Shepard Krech III) This is also a gem of a book that completely skewers the notion advanced by the Indian Industry, that, contrary to Europeans, Indians lived in harmony with nature.

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The fates of human societies (Jared Diamond) A massive tome that handily explains why some peoples created advanced, highly technological societies while others never left the stone age.

The Little Ice Age: How climate made history 1300-1850 (Brian Fagan) This was published twelve years ago, before the AGW crowd reached their feverish and hysterical peak. The title says quite clearly what it's about; that most recent period in history that AGW scammers pretend never happened.

The Paleolithic Prescription: A program of diet and exercise and a design for living (Eaton, Shostak, Konner) A very interesting books about what early humans ate as they evolved and why we should try to eat the same way, today. Oh, and how early humans maintained a superb state of fitness. But since I don't have access to wildebeest and wild turnips, I have an excuse, and I'm sticking to it.

The Road Less Travelled: A new psychology of love, traditional values and spiritual growth (M. Scott Peck) Oh, man! This book has been the single most important read in my life. I've read it several times and could read it again. If your head isn't screwed on right (and whose isn't) this book is indispensable for getting you unmessed-up.

Don't Know Much About The Bible: Everything you need to know about the good book but never learned (Kenneth C. Davis) Just an interesting book chock full of info, often humorous, about what's in the Bible. And, unlike the Bible, it's written in modern English, so I was actually able to read it!

The Trouble With Islam: A wake-up call for honesty and change (Irshad Manji) You've probably heard of this one and of her. This very brave young woman dared to write about the religion of Islamism and, as if to prove her right, has had to live with body guards ever since.

Saddam Hussein: A political biography (Karsh, Rautsi) A detailed account of his rise to power and his legacy, once in the president's office. Lot's of blood and mayhem along the way.

What Went Wrong: Western impact and Middle Eastern Response
(Bernard Lewis) A mercifully small book on a very large topic.

There. That's a sampling of the books I own. Now you know what sort of stuff I like to read.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

How Many Times....

...have we heard this threat before?

Canada could face native 'uprising' if Harper doesn't listen, chief threatens

A billion times? Those treaties contain a long forgotten clause saying that the Indians promise to obey the law. One that I think has been broken millions of times already, but like everything else about the treaties, the actual text of the treaties has long been passe as more and more absurdities are thought up by the Indian Industry and advanced as "treaty promises".

I say bring it on. I think it's time to tear up those documents anyway. Along with the Indian Act.

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Just Because I'm Feeling Mischievious...

...Male sex drive to blame for world wars: scientists
"The "male warrior" instinct means that men are programed to be aggressive towards any-one they view as an outsider, a study says.

In evolutionary terms, an instinct for violence against others helped early men improve their status and gain more access to mates, but in modern terms this can trans-late into large-scale wars.

In contrast, women are naturally equipped with a "tend and befriend" attitude that means they seek to resolve conflicts peacefully in order to protect their children, re-searchers said."
Okay. I'm ducking behind my computer. Go ahead, fellas. Prove them right. ;-P

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About That Burka Ban

Widespread support for burka ban, Jason Kenney says; Muslims salute minister for ‘courageous’ move
"A month after Canada banned Muslim women from covering their faces during citizenship ceremonies, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says the policy has won widespread support.

Speaking at a Muslim Canadian Congress event honouring his “courageous decision,” Mr. Kenney said polling shows that eight out of 10 Canadians agreed with the decision while only 14% were opposed.

“It is only a sign of respect for your fellow citizens, when you are pledging to them your commitment to live in a community with them, to show your face and who you are and that your pledge is heartfelt and authentic,” he said."
"“The niqab or burka is a political tool by Islamists who wish to segregate Muslims into religious ghettos, cut off from mainstream society,” said Farzana Hassan of the Muslim Canadian Congress. “Islamists consider women who do not cover their heads and faces, which constitutes the vast majority, as sinners and lesser Muslims.”"
Now, Liberals and other sore losers will say; "Ya, but what do you expect him to say".

And speaking of sore loser liberals, here's an interesting article from Macleans.

The Liberals await heaven’s command
"It was like spending a frigid weekend huddled around the world’s biggest samovar, with 3,200-plus joyful Liberals, not one of them fitting my expectation that they had shifted categories from walking wounded to being the walking dead. Their joy is that, whatever else they might do in a future that remains a distant and ill-defined option, at least they can pretend that dreams still count. That even if the Earth moved last May 2, and left the one-time power barons barren of power, they exist, awaiting heaven’s command.

Assembled, they project the distinct impression that while they are in third—which is like having a one-way ticket to purgatory—they should still be heard. No longer members of Canada’s natural governing party, they are losers searching for a mission. Slip-sliding away, like drunks convinced they are holding up the lampposts. The Grits have yet to earn another chance to head an effective opposition. Beyond that, they can’t count on Bob Rae being the dream candidate who could lead them back to the Treasury benches. He has enough political baggage to fill an airport carousel. For some inexplicable reason, he reminds me of Sir John A. Macdonald’s line, “I do not say that all Grits are horse thieves. But I feel quite sure that all horse thieves are Grits.”"

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Those Pesky Humans...

...were at it 10,000 years ago...but it was mostly climate:

Humans and Climate Contributed to Extinctions of Large Ice Age Mammals, New Study Finds
"The genetic history of six large herbivores -- the woolly rhinoceros, woolly mammoth, wild horse, reindeer, bison, and musk ox -- has shown that both climate change and humans were responsible for the extinction or near extinction of large mammal populations within the last 10,000 years."
How Mammoths Lost the Extinction Lottery
"Woolly mammoths, woolly rhinos and other large animals driven to extinction since the last ice age each succumbed to a different lethal mix of circumstances. This conclusion — the result of a huge analysis of fossils, climate records and DNA — hints that it could be more difficult than thought to identify the species at greatest risk of disappearing today."
Climate Change Caused Extinction of Big Ice Age Mammals, Scientist Says
"A renewed assault is being made on the popular idea that the mass extinction of large mammals in North America around 10,500 years ago was the result of human hunting.

The overkill hypothesis was first put forward more than a century ago and has been widely accepted for the past 30 years. But it does not square with the known facts and has become more a faith-based credo than good science, said Donald Grayson, an archaeologist at the University of Washington."
I wonder if a segment of the ancient human populations blamed their fellow humans? C'est la Vie. But it just goes to show that human ingenuity and adaptability can get us out of some pretty tight spots - like a changing climate, for instance.

Related: Let's have a moment of silence for all these creatures that used to walk on pretty much the same ground that I do but went extinct, not that long ago. (There's a great little map at the link showing the extent and retreat of the ice sheets during the last ice age bringing us into the contemporary inter-glacial period. Damn we're lucky!)

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Great Moments In ...

... Oh....

Plight of the Polar Bear
"It was August 12, about one month before the sea ice would reach its annual minimum extent after the summer melt, but a vast expanse of open ocean already separated Wrangel Island from the pack ice. Historically, sea ice remained near Wrangel for most of the year.

But climate warming has recently caused the ice to shrink dramatically, and now it’s absent in prime polar bear habitat throughout the Chukchi Sea for several months from mid-summer through late fall. Polar bears need sea ice for all essential aspects of their lives; so why was this bear swimming here?"
"If humans continue to burn fossil fuels and pump ever- increasing amounts of heat-trapping gases into the air, arctic temperatures will inevitably continue to rise, and sea ice will surely continue to shrivel. Will any polar bears survive anywhere in the wild by the end of this century if we simply carry on with business-as-usual?"

N.W.T. ups price paid for polar bear pelts to $1,750 as demand for the fur rises [Ed. Emphasis throughout mine.]
"Just as Ottawa is drawing up polar bear management plans and mulling the animal’s promotion to National Symbol, the Northwest Territories is now paying an extra $1,350 for polar bear hides.

Hunters in the Northwest Territories used to receive $400 when they submitted polar bear pelts to Genuine Mackenzie Valley Furs, a government-run fur marketer For this season, authorities have upped the figure to $1750."
"“Hide values have been quite high the last two years; largely reflecting international demand from emerging economies,” said Andrew E. Derocher, a biologist with the University of Alberta.
"Amid the threat of melting sea ice, Mr. Derocher said researchers rarely take issue with polar bear hunting. “I don’t know a polar bear scientist that hasn’t support subsistence harvests of polar bears — or even sport hunting of polar bears,” he said."

As Russia and China produce more billionaires, offices and homes bedecked in Arctic fur have become a sought-after status symbol. Threats to polar bear populations posed by melting sea ice have only sweetened the deal."
"Every year, about 450 polar bears are killed and skinned in Canada — largely by Inuit hunters in Nunavut."
"Amid the threat of melting sea ice, Mr. Derocher said researchers rarely take issue with polar bear hunting. “I don’t know a polar bear scientist that hasn’t support subsistence harvests of polar bears — or even sport hunting of polar bears,” he said.

Ironically, the spike in world demand comes just as domestic desire for polar bear pelts is evaporating. Mr. Derocher is also curator of mammology at the University of Alberta, and he said the program has received an influx donated polar bear pelts in recent months.

“Canadians seem to be saying ‘I don’t want my great uncle’s polar bear hide anymore’ … it’s become politically incorrect to have this threatened species on your wall,” he said."
Comments are worth a read, too. What a scam!!

Related: Record fox fur prices prompt N.W.T trapping hopes

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Unintended Consequences

We now have a batpocalypse crisis.

Of course, that's not nearly as bad as dead ducks.

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ian Plimer Again

I've got about 30 pages left to read in his book.  This a just a taste of what he deals with in Heaven and Earth: global warming, the missing science:

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The End of the British Empire

This is a great pair of videos. The first one shows, among other things, the division of India and the creation of Pakistan and the great flow of humanity heading both ways - Muslims to Pakistan; Hindus to India.

The second part shows the creation of Israel and the immediate aftermath, which includes the withdrawal of Britain from Palestine and the first of many Arab-Israeli wars; the bloody de-colonization movement in Africa and the achievement of independence for new African nations with terrible consequences in some of them; the exodus of Britons to Australia and Canada and the consequences for the indigenous people, the influx of Caribbeans to Britain; the granting of independence for the last few colonies - Rhodesia and Hong Kong.

Ah, history. As one of my history professors said:  "history is just one damn thing after another."

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Guess I Missed This...

...due to Christmas and all. But it's a barn burner:

Three Years Under Obama

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Friday, January 20, 2012



Male bowerbirds trick females into sex

All's fair in love and war, I suppose.

Some supplementary material for your viewing and edification:

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A Classic Case of...

A Whole New Meaning...

...to the word "gas".  Well, maybe not, but this could explain why certain foods do seem to lead to situations where no one wants to sit next to you:

Genetically Engineered Stomach Microbe Converts Seaweed into Ethanol

Another article on the same topic:

Breakthrough in seaweed biofuel reported

Might just solve the non-existing AGW problem, too. Just like corn did.

But seriously. We will eventually run out of oil, so if we can have a suitable substitute all tested and ready to go by that time, that's gotta be good.

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Love It!!!!

"I for one am glad this President is defending our borders from the influx of illegal energy."

That's from the comments thread on a Free Republic entry with a link to this Calgary Herald article.

It's tongue in cheek, of course, but the Keystone XL pipeline just won't go away: American bloggers, commentators and politicians are doing it to death.  But in this age of the 15 second soundbite, will it still be an issue later this fall when the presidential election campaign heats up?

I any case, here's a taste:

GOP Plots Path Around President on Keystone Pipeline

Obama’s Keystone decision ‘an act of national insanity’

Rejecting Keystone is 'insanity': Samuelson

Thompson and the Keystone XL Pipeline

Be sure to read the comments, too,  which are often as good as or better as a source of info than the article itself.

Canadian government responds to Keystone XL rejection

[Scroll down the page. The centre column headed Energy has several links to articles (seven, altogether, at the moment) about this decision.]

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Eyes Rolling

And this is only the silly part of it.

Remember way back in the stone age, when I was in my late teens and early twenties, the argument that won the day and led to the elimination of the death penalty was that someone who had been wrongfully convicted might be killed by the state. Fair enough. But not only has DNA evidence poked at least some holes in that argument, but the leftards advocating on behalf of convicted criminals have carried their tear-jerker arguments, and modified them to modernize them, into the 21st century. Thus we get absurdities like the one dealt with in the clip above.

I have to wonder why these types would argue against the death penalty with the "what if we make a mistake" line of reasoning, but the "what if we make a mistake" line of reasoning is nowhere in sight today when it comes to issues like the one dealt with in the above clip or when it comes to early release of dangerous offenders from prison.

It's time for an honest discussion of the whole modern leftist/liberal approach to corrections and what it has and hasn't accomplished, including the unforeseen consequences, which the leftards do not want to acknowledge or even be exposed to. Instead, they keep repeating, like some worn out, sluggish mantra, that conservatives simply want to "punish" criminals.  Just goes to show how out of touch they are.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Variations On A Theme

The following is a guest post by Dave in Pa.:

The NDP has just had what they call a leadership debate in Toronto. By published accounts, the eight candidates spent their time agreeing with each other that NDP's "progressivism" and desire to nationalize all of Canada is a good thing. By contrast, those who disagree, particularly the Conservatives, Conservative PM Stephen Harper and Toronto Conservative Mayor Rob Ford are bad things. Good and bad, black and white, a simple moral code and worldview. In all this, they basically mirror the Liberal Party of Canada, which also just had its convention. 

I have a theory that there are many threads of culture, past and present, that, for better or worse, unite what we call Western Civilization. Today, one of the "for worse", is what I call the International Disease of Leftista-ism.  Today's neo-liberalism has nothing in common with Classic Liberalism. The fundamental beliefs of Classic Liberalism included limited government; free enterprise; constitutional government under the rule of law; un-fettered natural freedoms for all individuals, including freedom of speech, thought, religion, assembly and press.

This classic liberalism has nothing in common with today's neo-liberals, who, having toxified the word liberal in so many Westerners' minds, shifted their brand name and now call themselves "progressives".

International modern Western Liberalism, or Neo-Liberalism, strongly share certain attitudes and traits, a Western trans-national phenomenon.  This holds true whether we're talking about British Labourites, Canadian Dippers and Liberals, Australian Labourites or American Democrats.  These habits and traits include an assumption of enlightened intellectual superiority over moderates and conservatives, a secular theological sense of moral superiority over non-Leftistas, and a complete unwillingness to even consider that they may be wrong about something or ought to apologize to their electorates or anyone else about anything. Group-think, Double-think, New-speak saturate their minds.

Let's do some Western.Civilization.Connect.The.Dots  -  This Western "progressive" parallel provincialism, with these identical arrogant attitudes and intellectual and moral certainties are blatantly exemplified in this week's Newsweek cover. With an upward-looking photo of Barack Obama, the cover asks "Why Are Obama's Critics So Dumb?".  In the Liberal Party convention, there's an implied and expressed sense of certainty ("...only their party understands Canada..."). Look back to the 2004 US Presidential election, when Bush beat John Kerry. In shock and mourning the day after Bush was re-elected, a major British Leftista national newspaper, the London Daily Mirror, had a post-election front page, referring to Bush's victorious vote total, proclaimed in massive-sized font, "How can 59,054,087 People Be So Stupid?"

Do you see the variations on a theme here?  Only the progressive minds of the Liberal Party understand Canada.  The eight leadership candidates of the NDP and their audience have no doubt that their "progressive" values and policies are perfect as is and should not be changed. Rather than ask Canadians why they voted Conservative, rather than move the NDP to the Canadian mainstream, the NDP "...want to bring the centre to us", as candidate Mulcair put it. All the correction that's needed is for the foolish Canadian majority who didn't vote NDP to improve their minds, to The NDP Way. The progressive minds at the London Daily Mirror have no doubt the 59 million Bush voters in 2004 were stupid. The progressive minds at Newsweek have no doubt Obama critics today are stupid.

So, there we have it.  The West's "progressives" have The Truth.  While they like to prattle on about "diversity", their faux diversity is superficial.  One may be male, female, white, black, Asian, straight, gay, handicapped, whatever.  All well and good.  But true diversity, diversity of thought, is forbidden.  The "progressive" secular theology is complete, unalterably correct and, if you disagree in any degree, you are stupid and evil. The NDP, Liberals, Democrats, the London Daily Mirror and Newsweek tell us so.

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Elizabeth Chow Agrees With...

...me (beginning at the 27 second moment):

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The Mounties Get Their...


That's not that far from here.

I like these stories. Fugitives from the law get their just dues in small town Saskatchewan courtesy of the sometimes red-coated mounties.


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Frankly My Dear...

...I'm getting a little tired of ex-wives thinking they should exercise their need for vengeance in such a public and destructive way. Makes me think, no wonder you're and ex-wife. Just grow up, will you.

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Treading Carefully

I have a daily delivery of an email alert regarding Pajamas Media's video offerings for non-members. This morning, this was one of the videos.

After you watch the video, you will have seen they are talking about the cowardly behavior of the Captain of the Costa Concordia, and blaming it on the feminist movement.

I want to talk about the feminist movement and whether or not I agree with Bill Whittle and his Trifecta buds. In some ways I do agree with them (they blame the "progressives", too), but not entirely.

Here's the thing. Cowardice, which the Costa Concordia's captain had in spades, has been around for centuries, nay, millennia. You can't necessarily pin that on either modern progressives or feminism. I think they are painting with too wide a brush. If someone other than the captain himself can be blamed, let's try his employer.

Still, it's interesting and enlightening to see how men feel about the traditional masculine role vis a vis women. After watching the video, have a read through the comments as well. Do women have to be helpless so that men can feel manly and needed? This is a minefield, if there ever was one, but my gut reaction is "man up" guys.

I will admit the modern feminist movement has gone to hell in a hand basket, but in its early days, it had worthy goals and it spotlighted real problems of inequality and discrimination. I felt it myself in my early 20s.

My younger sister encountered it once when she attempted to enroll in the "Renewable Resources" program at a post secondary college in Saskatoon, and was told by the head of the program that it was not for women. Only men could apply. Being the kind of feisty dame that she is, she made a big stink and the head man backed down. It wasn't long after that, that the program was admitting both men and women and churning out graduates of both sexes.

Indeed, most of the goals of the feminist movement of the early 1970s have been met, and where they haven't been met, they have been altered due to intelligent and truthful debate. For example, the wage differential can be explained, in part, by the fact that women are the ones that have babies and stay home with them when they are tiny and helpless.  It just makes sense that the mother would be the one to do this. After all, when is the last time a man successfully breast-fed an infant?  Consequently, women's careers are interrupted, leading to fewer years of  experience and making them less attractive candidates for certain positions.

It takes sometimes several months to train a new employee who may be hired to replace a woman on maternity leave. With men, that problem doesn't exist.  And besides that, I really do believe there are some critical differences between the way men and women think and behave that are hard wired.

Yet this is a topic that still needs discussion. Are there fewer manly men in the world because of feminism? Why should men have to perceive women as weak and needing protection in order to be secure in their masculinity? Why have the concerns of men regarding the consequences of the feminist movement not been addressed? And most importantly, why does life have to be so frickin' unfair?

Speaking of cowardly men and courageous men, have a listen to the recording and translation of the communication between an Italian coast guard man (a manly man, if there ever was one) and the ship's pathetic-excuse-for-a-man captain, Francesco Schettino, or Tiny Shit, as some are rightfully calling him.

PS: I think this belongs here.

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