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Wireless is not the Holy Grail of high-speed internet..

.. despite what some would tell you. The sales pitch for getting high-speed wireless is that you’re able to keep a signal and a connection in bad weather, unlike say, satellite-based internet. That may be true, but we’ve been off-line or with intermittent service (and still are as of this blogposting) around here since late last night. According to our ISP, the service disruption is due to “adverse weather conditions”.


I thought short of the wireless tower blowing over in a tornado that the signal was supposed to stay true? Anyhow, between that and tracking Hurricane Dolly’s landfall (it got up to a Category 2 with 100 mph maximum sustained winds), I’ve been a tad removed from political chit-chat today.


On push-polling.

Well, I’m presuming a poll claiming to show a majority of Canadians opposed to Dr. Henry Morgentaler receiving the Order of Canada was done by the anti-abortion movement as explained over here at Birth Pangs (I prefer giving them the link traffic) because they were horrified at the fact that 2 legitimate pollsters did polling that showed a solid majority of Canadians (by over 2-1 numbers) approved of Dr. Henry Morgentaler receiving the Order of Canada.

When faced with polling done by those pollsters done with no axe to grind vs one that has been asked by a group with an obvious agenda, you always go with the established pollsters. […]


Tropical Storm/Hurricane interlude

Updated: Hurricane Dolly, July 22/08, 5:00 pm EDT

One of the quirks I have is a fascination with Tropical Storms and Hurricanes. Don’t ask me how that got started, but I’m in awe of the pure power these things possess, and also how beautiful they can look on radar and satellite. I of course do not wish for destruction or loss of life, just as a stormchaser doesn’t wish a tornado to hit a town head-on. It’s just an appreciation for this phenomenon that I have.

Anyhow, it appears from the 11 am National Hurricane Centre update that Dolly is about to gain Hurricane status, and could be making a landfall on the US/Mexico border at the extreme southern part of Texas, near the community of Brownsville, sometime tomorrow.

It appears its going to be another busy season in the Tropics, when we’re already up to the letter “D” for named storms in July, and the busy part of the Hurricane season hasn’t even got here yet. I don’t think anyone is predicting this early in the hurricane season that the NHC will run out of letters and have to go to the Greek Alphabet like they did in 2005, but they’re on the 2005 pace so far. I of course will not attempt to make a link to this and climate change, as it’s not enough evidence to on an active hurricane season to do that, but the increased activity and ferocity of these storms makes you go hmm, or it should.

A real good place to follow hurricanes and tropical systems and get some good analysis is at the Weather Underground, and to follow the blog of Dr. Jeff Masters.

[email protected]: We have Hurricane Dolly, the 2nd of the season.


The Cons. trying to shift arguments for not repatriating Omar Khadr.

I find it interesting how much gyrations this Conservative government is going through in trying to justify why it should remain the only Western nation to not repatriate it’s citizens from Guantanamo Bay – or in this case, citizen, as only 1 by the name of Omar Khadr is there.

First, it was that they had to let the “process” take place at Guantanamo because he was facing very serious charges.

Then, the reason became that Khadr was a litmus test in showing the world how serious Canada was on terror. That was a false argument if there ever was one. Everyone knew that “the world” was code […]


Better disclosure on your guests, CTV (and maybe better guests, too).

In brief, I was reading this post by Jeff this AM afternoon, and I have to say along the same lines that for a pro vs con debate on a controversial topic, such as Omar Khadr, CTV can certainly bring on to debate whoever it wants – the choice of US Navy JAG Lawyer Lieutenant Commander William Kuebler, who is defending Khadr, is a solid choice, and good on CTV for bringing him on. Everyone knows quite crystal clear where he stands and why his views are what they are.

But, CTV has a duty to the viewers to properly identify the representative of the opposing viewpoint above and beyond the rather vague description of him as a security analyst and former Crown prosecutor. They should have mentioned, in my view, that he worked in Stockwell Day’s office at one point, and let people know this fact so they could see where his point of view is partially coming from. The fact he has rather extreme views on the Charter of Rights and the judiciary in Canada, as Jeff has pointed out at his blogpiece, also makes one wonder if CTV couldn’t have found a better representative to articulate that side of the argument.


Wanting human rights respected isn’t being “emotional”

I’m not going to get into a detailed synopsis of Stephen’s blogpiece like Red Tory did – more like a rant – but I’ll say more or less the same thing that RT did:

There’s nothing “emotional” amongst the “left-wing” about calling for due process to be followed and insisting that rules of evidence and constitutional rights to be respected. I didn’t realize those concepts are alien and foreign to Conservatives, but apparently, thats the case. Quite frankly, it shouldn’t have anything to do with “left vs right”. If Conservatives claim they are for the rule of law, then they too should be calling for Khadr’s return to Canada, as Jonathan Kay just did in the National Post recently. Stephen claims to be a libertarian Conservative; I see no evidence of libertarianism in anything he’s written on the Khadr topic so far.

On a side-note, I also get a chuckle out of his article where he claims that conservatives act on what they know to be true. Right – their inactivity on global warming in the face of all scientific consensus – even to outright denunciation of those scientific facts – plus claiming that statistics showing crime going down isn’t right because they “feel” its a problem, shows real-time evidence on that, eh Stephen? Those are 2 examples I can use – among several others. That claim is laughable; I can only presume he put that line in there in order to make his Blogging Tory readership feel good about themselves.

The bottom line is this: we in Canada are the only Western country left in the world that refuses to repatriate its citizens from Guantanamo and still laughably claim that Khadr is being treated well and that the legal process down there is fair – this is still being claimed by the Conservative government and its supporters even after the US Supreme Court recently ruled otherwise. Harper and his bunch are being shown for what they are – Bush clones for their attempting to ignore constitutional rights and human rights. I’ve no doubt if he thought he could get away with it, that Harper would be trying to set up military tribunals up here and remove Canadian constitutional protection from people accused of these offences – all in the name of national security. Their attitude with Guantanamo and more or less claiming they believe the tribunals down there could handle things better then the Canadian court system up here (in essence, being afraid Khadr would be found innocent) is direct evidence of that.

The only thing I can say for Stephen’s piece is he’s writing it mainly for his Conservative Kool-Aid crowd’s benefit. It befits a blog article on the Blogging Tory site – it would be insulting the intelligence of Canadians if it were appearing in a mainstream media newspaper article.

[email protected]:10 pm: Red Tory in a new blogpost goes after the specific arguments of Taylor against repatriating Omar Khadr.


More examples of fearmongering from the conservatives..

…but this time from the US, from the Conservative Party’s American Idols, the Republican Party, who did very well with fearmongering as an election tool from 2002-2005. It appears some in the McCain team are trying once again to get Americans scared. First, they’re trying to get them scared of Obama. John McCain said in an interview a couple of days ago that he considered Obama’s voting record to show he was an extremist and maybe even a socialist (GASP!). Today, some in the McCain camp are trying to paint an entire religious group as who Americans should be afraid of as well:

McCain POW bud: Muslims ‘going to kill us’

One of John McCain’s fellow POW’s in Vietnam defended the war in Iraq, saying, “The Muslims have said either we kneel or they’re going to kill us.” In a phone call with reporters arranged by the McCain campaign, Colonel Bud Day added: “I don’t intend to kneel and I don’t advocate to anybody that we kneel, and John doesn’t advocate to anybody that we kneel.”

Actually, this is both a vivid example of fear-mongering and group-baiting as you’ll find.

Meanwhile, in the electoral college, you can see why McCain is resorting to these tactics, and it will only get worse from him and his campaign the longer you see all those Blue states staying that way or expanding, particularly in traditional Republican “red states”, and as they get more desperate to turn the Democratic tide.


Cons: Facts dont count – only perception does.

So, the crime rate in Canada goes down for the 3rd year in a row, according to a new Statistics Canada report, and one of the polling firms out there quite rightly predicts that this probably will hurt the Cons:

If crime rates continue to come down, then eventually the level of fear will not rise, but it might actually taper off or stabilize, in which case the usefulness of it as a ballot question for the Conservatives will weaken over time, said Bruce Anderson, president of polling firm Harris-Decima.

Ah, but that won’t deter the Cons of course from continuing to try. According to them, those statistics are misleading and wrong, because people THINK that crime is going up:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has dismissed empirical evidence that crime rates are actually falling, suggesting that emotion is a more telling barometer. Harper has cast those who point to statistics to oppose elements of the Tory law-and-order agenda as apologists for criminals.(They) try to pacify Canadians with statistics, he told party supporters in January…That assertion was echoed today by Justice Minister Rob Nicholson. We are not governing by statistics. We are governing by what we promised Canadians in the last election and what Canadians have told us, he said in an interview.

..and of course, the Cons. will do everything in their power to keep Canadians trying to think that, because for Canadians to look at the statistics and see that the Cons messaging is nothing but bunk takes away a key plank of the Cons. platform. The Cons. believe that Canadians being fearful works in their political favour, and many of the Cons. messaging is based on fear -this is one notable example of such deplorable tactics. The Cons., like their American Idols in the Republicans, are not part of the reality-based community.


Spending the evening with Bob Rae and Martha Dennis.

I had an interesting Wednesday evening in Woodstock. Bob Rae was in town spending some of the day with Oxford Liberal candidate Martha Dennis. They were involved with a round-table in the afternoon with some of Oxford County’s town mayors, and other community and social leaders. They then moved to a gathering at a local Liberal’s home for a little get-together/fund-raising event for Martha. There were about 40-50 people in attendance for this, and there were people there from Woodstock, Tillsonburg and some points in between.

Here’s some photographic evidence that I was at the event, and the proof that Bob Rae is much more photogenic then I am. Also, a photo of Bob and Martha addressing the gathering.

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Unfortunately, I don’t have a blackberry or a laptop, so I wasn’t able to live-blog the remarks made to the crowd, but I liked what Bob had to say to the gathering, particularly the part where he said he will be pressing for an election as soon as possible when the House resumes sitting was very nice for an election hawk like myself to hear.

He also mentioned that it was very important in Conservative-held ridings that we mount serious challenges to the incumbent to try and wrest the seat away from them; that is what he feels the Liberals focus should be in Ontario. Oxford County is a traditional Conservative riding, and won’t be easy to wrest away, but I liked that part of his speech last night, which was the Liberals shouldn’t be conceding these traditional Conservative seats. This is similar to Democratic chairperson Howard Dean’s “50 state strategy” in the US, which is they run hard in every state at the presidential and congressional level and don’t concede any state or race to the other side. I am all for that strategy here.

As Bob said last night, he holds no personal animosity towards our current Conservative MP, Dave Mackenzie, but we need to get him out of here.

More pictures from the event can and will be seen at the Martha Dennis for Oxford Facebook group.


More Ethics Committee entertainment..

.. by our Conservative mole Maclean’s Kady O’Mally as she liveblogs Day 2 of the Ethics Committee. Some of the highlights so far appear to be the Cons. claiming this is all a big fishing expedition — but then proceeding to try and delay and filibuster this Committee with inane notions. Fortunately, the chairperson Paul Szabo isn’t a Conservative, so it only gets them so far. It does look like all in attendance – Kady included – are a bit irritated today. Must be the humidity or something.

[email protected]:10 pm: The afternoon sesssion of the Ethics committee is liveblogged here by Kady, whose fingers and will to blog this griping (mostly by the Cons. unsurprisingly) appears to be fading fast.

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