Sunday, August 31, 2008

McCain's big gamble

McCainsBigGamble
Judging from the American Social Security Administration's online tables (here), the actuarial probability that an American male of (say) 72 years of age, would die during a year is 3.2978%; one of 73 years, 3.6086%; one of 74 years, 3.9506%; one of 75 years, 4.3415%.

Taking these together over (say) four years, the odds of a 72-year old man dying in the next four years would be 19.1491%, or about one in five.

So, America. Feeling lucky?

Update. Via email I was reminded that the odds for the next four years are even worse: 77th year, 4.7789%; 78th, 5.2464%; 79th, 5.7413%; 80th, 6.2789%. The odds of a 76 year old dying before the end of his 80th year is 22.05%. And the odds of a 72 year-old dying within two terms, 41.2%.

Snicker

Ahem, America, Alaska is close to two countries



Fox News (see here): "[T]he other thing about her, she does know about international relations because she is right up there in Alaska right next door to Russia."

The same point was made by Cindy McCain, and now other commentators have repeated what must be becoming a Republican talking-point (here).

Attention, Americans. There are two countries up near Alaska (see the map above). And while Canada didn't make the Axis of Evil, we want to point out that Canada is part of the Axis of Nations That Are Actually Quite Nice But Secretly Have Nasty Thoughts About America.


    Links added

Sarah Palin's little problem

Over at Talking-Points Memo, Josh Marshall has a great summary involving Sarah Palin's trooper-gate.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin's electoral experience

Down south, Republican nominee John McCain has surprised everyone by picking up-and-comer Sarah Palin to be his running-mate.

The surprise is due to her lack of experience. She's been governor of Alaska for less than two years. Before that she was mayor of the town of Wasilla, Alaska, a small city or town, depending on your definition.

But her relative lack of experience is not merely in governing, but in electoral politics.

Here are the election results in the years that Palin was returned as mayor.
  • in 1996, Palin defeated incumbent mayor John Stein 617 to 413.*
  • in a rematch in 1999, Palin defeated John Stein 826 to 255.**
This means, however, that before her recent election as governor, Palin's entire electoral experience involved only a couple thousand votes.
    *Source: Anchorage Daily News, October 2, 1996
    **Source: Anchorage Daily News, October 6, 1999 (also here)

So that's what a spinner is!

I'd always wondered.

The electoral college now and then (3)

August30Comp
h/t electoral-vote.com

Thursday, August 28, 2008

God is not mocked

When Focus on the Family prayed for rain at the Democratic National Convention in Denver (here), it was easy to dismiss as playful humour. God, in any case, had his own plans: the weather is perfect.

Meanwhile look at what rough beast slouches towards New Orleans:

Scheduled landfall? September 1, the first day of the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis.
    h/t Chris Bodenner.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The electoral college now and then

Here is the state of play in the US presidential election.

In 2004, 280 for Kerry to 238 for Bush. Today: 264 Obama; 252 McCain; 22 tied

Aug25(compared)


Hang on to your hats, folks. It looks like another close one.


    h/t electoral-vote.com.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Aging elephants

Conservative blogger Edward Michael George spins a recent Telegraph poll that showed that
    Race continues to be a significant factor with nine per cent of voters saying they would feel uncomfortable voting for a black candidate.
Mr. George wonders why this 9% newsworthy is newsworthy when "90% of black voters … don't want to go with the white candidate".

The learned Dr. Dawg makes quick work, pointing out that the 9% are uncomfortable with voting for any black candidate, while Mr. George's 90% of blacks rejecting McCain are apparently uncomfortable with this specific white one, but have voted for whites (Clinton, Gore, etc.) before in massive numbers. One might wonder in any case what Mr. George's point was: that white racism is OK because some blacks might be racist (even if this example doesn't show it)?

But let's leave that aside. There is another recent poll finding, that strikes me as more worthy of attention. The Washington Post asked voters about their comfort levels about both Obama's race and McCain's age.


Here, 12% of registered voters are somewhat or entirely uncomfortable with Obama becoming the first black president. But 44% are uncomfortable with McCain taking office at age 72.

This suggests that racism is a smaller problem for Obama than ageism for McCain.


Rewritten for clarity.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Punctuation can mean life or death

Kinsley at FT.com (registration required):
    "I use semicolons and I never really enforced a hard-and-fast rule," Kinsley responded recently by e-mail ... "But if abuse is going to be common," he continued, "it's simpler and safer to have a flat-out rule. It's like drug regulation. Drugs are banned sometimes because a minority of users will have negative side effects, or because taking them correctly is complicated, although many people could get it right and would find them helpful. Actually, I'm opposed to that kind of thinking re drugs, but I am OK with it regarding punctuation. Punctuation can't save your life."


"Eats shoots and leaves":


"Eats, shoots, and leaves"


(With apologies to Lynne Truss )

Friday, August 22, 2008

When the aints come marching in (running list)

Brian Rushfeldt's Canada Family Action Coalition filed a complaint to the Judicial Council (pdf here) demanding that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court be sacked for chairing the committee that awarded the Order of Canada to Morgentaler.

He claims to be representing 42 groups, which follow with links. Items that are inappropriate (e.g., because they are private businesses) or double-counted have been struck out with a link to the explanation.
  1. Canada Family Action Coalition. Several of its affiliates have been included (nos. 30 and 36). (1)
  2. 4 My Canada. On them, see here.
  3. A.J. Slinger Service is a private business, and apparently the same as nos. 13 and 14 below (see here).
  4. Alberta Pro-Life Alliance Association is part of Life Canada (no. 26) and should not be counted twice (see here).
  5. Active Christians Engaging Society is a micro-group based in Sudbury with only four members, see here.
  6. Alliance for Life Ontario (2).
  7. ARPA Canada (Association for Reformed Political Action) (3).
  8. Canada Christian College is a real Bible College. But it has the same address and phone numbers as several other groups that seem to be under its control (nos. 12, 19, 24, 25), which have been struck (4).
  9. Canadian Physicians for Life is a chapter of Life Canada (no. 26) (see here).
  10. Canadian Alliance for Social Justice and Family Values Association (5).
  11. Canadian Coalition Democracies (6).
  12. Canadian College of Christian Councelors (sic) has the same contact information as no. 8 Canada Christian College (see here).
  13. Can Am Fabricating and Welding: see above, no. 3.
  14. Can American Stone Spreader: see above, no. 3.
  15. Catholic Civil Rights League (7).
  16. Catholic Diocese of Calgary (8).
  17. Christian Action Federation of New Brunswick (9).
  18. Christian Social Concern Fellowship (10).
  19. Christians United for Israel has the same contact information as no. 8, Canada Christian College (see here).
  20. Colchester County Right to Life = Colchester Right to Life. See update 2, below.
  21. David Murrell, Phd, UNB, Economics is not a group, but an individual (see here).
  22. Eternally Yours Radio and Telecast Ministry (11).
  23. Eternity Club is run by the same woman who runs no. 22.
  24. Evangelical Association of Canada has the same contact information as no. 8, Canada Christian College (see here)
  25. Institute for Canadian Values has the same contact information as no. 8, Canada Christian College (see here)
  26. Life Canada is the national umbrella group for those opposed to abortion. Some of its constituent groups that have been listed include no. 4, 9, 20, 33, 37, 38 (12).
  27. Life Site News (13).
  28. Live-In International (14).
  29. Lutherans for Life (15).
  30. Niagara Chapter - CFAC is a constituent part of Canada Family Action Coalition (no. 1) (see here).
  31. North Shore Pro Life is an affiliate (once removed) of Life Canada (see here in upperdate)
  32. Our Lady of Mercy Parish Pro-Life Burnaby. (16)
  33. Pro-Vie Clare. See update 1, below.
  34. Real Women BC is a chapter of Real Women of Canada, no. 35 (see here).
  35. Real Women of Canada (17).
  36. Renfrew County Family Action Council is a chapter of the Canada Family Action Coalition (see here).
  37. Right to Life Association of Newfoundland and Labrador is a constituent group of Life Canada (no. 26).
  38. Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association is a constituent group of Life Canada (no. 26).
  39. Takebackcanada.com. is a website, not a group (see here in the updates).
  40. Together for Life Ministries is a one-women wedding service (see here).
  41. United Families Canada seems to be a shell (see here).
  42. Vancouver Jesus Agape Church. (18)
This post will be updated as new information is received.

Update 1.  In the comments JJ points out that the group Pro-Vie Clare (no. 33) is a chapter of Life Nova Scotia (see here), which is not in Rushfeldt's list.  Life Nova Scotia, however, is a chapter of Life Canada (see here).  Since the mother organization of Pro-Vie's mother organization is already in the list, it should be excluded.

Update 2.  Colchester Right to Life (no. 20) is also a chapter of Life Nova Scotia (see here and update 1).

Update 3.  Numbering (in red) added to make the count easier.


Updates to this post and discussion of its items are welcome in the comments. But please note my comments policy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Another McVety front (taking us to 25)


The 12th item in Rushfeldt's list is the Canadian College of Christian Councilors (sic). If you type the name correctly into google you'll find your way to Canadian College of Christian Counsellors, which is an accreditation agency (as you may have guessed) for Christian counsellors.

Membership doesn't seem very demanding:
  • A minimum of a Bachelor's degree in counselling or related field.
  • Complete and submit all sections of the CCCC application forms, with references.
  • Be willing to adhere to CCCC ethical standards for practice.
  • Attend the CCCC general meetings
  • Support the goals and objectives of the CCCC
  • Maintain high educational standards
  • Pay the required fees
Where is the check to be sent?
    Canadian College of Christian Counsellors
    50 Gervais Drive
    Toronto, Ontario
    M3C 1Z3
    (416) 391 5000
For those of you who have been paying attention, you'll recognize that address as the home of several McVety fronts (here and here):
So, McVety's now got at least five organizations in the list. We have, however, established the principle of only one front per customer. This takes the list to 24?

In other news

Blinky returns.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

One meeelion members! (but no more than 26 groups)

Dr. McVety says one million members, but this is difficult to substantiate, or determine its relevance.

In some of the groups, one assumes that the membership is behind the leadership. (McVety's Canada Christian College, which has an enrolment in the hundreds, presumably accept his leadership in such matters).

But another in the list is the Catholic Diocese of Calgary, and while constitutionally this is a dictatorship under the bishop appointed by the Church, the weight of the Bishop's statement within the Canadian political context depends on whether or not he is communicating the views of the rank and file Catholics under his charge. Although one might assume that many if not most Catholics accept the Church's teaching that abortion is sin and therefore would oppose Morgentaler's Order of Canada. But even among those how many will back the extreme demand that the Chief Justice be sacked because she chaired the committee that granted this award? And does McVety's one meeellion members count all of them? Because not all of them agree with their Bishop on this.

And then, of course, we have the problem that many of these 42 organizations are tiny, tiny, tiny. Consider the group named Active Christians Engaging Society (A.C.E.S.), the 5th organization named in Rushfeldt's list. Who are they? According to the Sudbury Christian Messenger, A.C.E.S. is a Sudbury group established to facilitate communication between church groups in Sudbury. The members of the A.C.E.S. team are named on this page. All four of them. ... Four.

The question, of course, is how large an "organization" has to be before it's worth including in a national news story claiming to show seething unhappiness in the masses. Four clearly misses by a couple orders of magnitude. Which leaves us at 26.

On the merits of the complaint

In the last days, I've been looking at the 42 groups that signed Brian Rushfeldt's letter demanding the impeachment of the Chief Justice for chairing the committee that awarded the Order of Canada given to Morgentaler.  

An extensive review of the merits of that letter has been undertaken by Christopher Bird at the court.ca that is well worth reading.

Real real women women doublet (27)

In case you're turning in late, Brian Rushfeldt, president of the theocon pressure group Canadian Family Action Coalition has stepped on a rake or two in leading the call for the impeachment of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

The list has some problems, however, to which another can be added.  

Canadian Cynic has pointed out (in the comments here) that there is a duplication between Real Women of Canada (Rushfeldt's 35) and Real Women of BC (Rushfeldt's 34). 

That these two groups are not truly independent is implied both by their name and by their shared graphic designer:



Thus of Rushfeldt's 42, 27 are left.

Monday, August 18, 2008

♬ We're goin' to the chapel ...♬ (28, I suppose)

JJ gives a nice overview of the developments to Brian Rushfeld's list of organizations calling for the impeachment of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. She asks (among other things) "how low will it go"?

At least one more lower, I guess. I point out to you the 40th group in Rushfeld's list: Together for Life Ministries.

If you check out the website, you'll find this nice lady, Rev. Anne Welker, M.Div., who can for the low, low price of $350 marry you ($100 extra for the rehearsal). She also runs a marriage counseling service (here: $60-$80 per hour) and marriage workshops (here: no price given).

Now, I quote these prices not because there is anything wrong with her making her living this way. The labourer is worthy of his hire, as it says in the Good Book, and Rev. Welker's customers seem happy.

But Together for Life Ministries is essentially a one-woman operation, a portable wedding chapel, if you will.

And as such, it doesn't really belong in Rushfeld's list, which was at 29, but which should now be trimmed to 28.

The thing about cockroaches ... (31; no, 30; no, 29)

... is that there is never just one.

In our last post (here), we saw that Life Canada was included in Rushfeldt's list of 42 organizations demanding that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court be sacked for chairing the committee that gave the Order of Canada to Henry Morgentaler. (It is 26th in the list.)

We also saw that the list also included one of Life Canada's subsidiaries, Canadian Physicians for Life. (9th in Rushfeldt's list.)

Amongst Rushfeldt's list are more of Life Canada's subsidiaries. For example:
This, however, takes Rushfeldt's list (which was at 32) down to 29.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

If you can't trust a doctor, who can you trust? (32, then)

There's also a problem with the Canadian Physicians for Life (CPL), the 9th organization listed among Brian Rushfeld's "42 Canadian organizations" that demand the impeachment of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

One of the countries larger anti-abortion groups is Life Canada (26th in Rushfeld's list). At its webpage it has a page dedicated to its provincial and affiliate sites.

Among them you will find (you guessed it): Canadian Physicians for Life.

Indeed, the contact given for the CPL is ddoherty@lifecanada.org, again suggesting that this is part of the Life Canada rather than an independent organization.

It should therefore not have its own place in Rushfeld's list, which is now trimmed to 32.

No, wait, that's 34 -- umm, 33

We have already seen that there has been some double counting in Rushfield's claim that 42 groups demand the impeachment of a Supreme Court justice (here and here and here and here).

Another example is with Rushfield's own organization, the Canadian Family Action Coalition (CFAC). This is the first group listed. The 3oth group listed is the "Niagara Chapter — CFAC". CFAC here clearly abbreviates Canadian Family Action Coalition — if you have any doubt, look at this pdf, where this chapter had petitioned Pelham town council to regulate local internet providers.

But surely we must assume that when Rushfield speaks for the CFAC he does so for the whole organization — both the central office and all its chapters. That is the whole point of having a central office. (Otherwise, we'd have to assume that some chapters disagreed with the head office position — which would negate whatever force Rushfield had when he spoke for the organization.) Thus, again, the judicious referee must rule against including the Niagara chapter. So we are down to 34.

The CFAC website, however, has pages for each province listing their chapters. Ontario is here. The 36th group on the list is the Renfrew County Family Action Coalition, which is listed by CFAC as one of its chapters. Striking it brings us to 33.


Only one front per customer, please (let's make that 35, shall we?)

The 19th group listed in among Rushfeld's "forty-two Canadian organizations" is Christians United for Israel. Its web page (here) gives its address and phone number as 50 Gervais Drive, Toronto, and (416) 391-5000, which are identical to Canada Christian College, the Evangelical Association, and the Institute for Canadian Values (as I showed here).

According to a page at its site, "Charles McVety is President of Canada Christian College and Canada Family Action Coalition. He is also Chair of Christians United for Israel - Canada."

Given that McVety has two or three other organizations in the list, and that as none of these are independent enough to have their own phone number, these really all can't be counted as separate institutions.


more astroturfing for Christ (perhaps 37 or 36?)

To continue.

Among Rushfeld's 42 39 38 socially conservative groups demanding that Supreme Court Justice Beverley McLachlin be dismissed are these three (they are 8th, 24th, and 25th in the list):
Canada Christian College is an evangelical bible college and seminary (wikipedia article here). The college and its president, Charles McVety, have been at the vanguard of the social conservative movement in recent years. The College is located in Toronto at 50 Gervais Drive, and its phone number is 416-391-5000.

The Evangelical Association, as you can see if you follow the link, is a credentialing organization directed by Rondo Thomas, who is VP of Student Affairs at Canada Christian College. For $50 per year and a processing fee, you can be ordained or licensed as a pastor, provided you are of good moral character and either have a theological education or are open to classes at the Canada Christian College. The Association's address is 50 Gervais Drive, Don Mills, Toronto, and its phone number is 416-391-5000.

If you follow the link for The Institute for Canadian Values, you'll see that it has the same address (50 Gervais) and same phone number (391-5000) as the CCC and Evangelical Association. In addition, the president of the ICV is Charles McVety, president of CCC.

Now, this rather looks like between the two of them, McVety and Thomas have attempted to make one organization (CCC) look like three. The Evangelical Association seems to function as a credentialling department for the College, while the Institute is a think-tank located there. The fact that they share an address and phone-number makes them look too closely related to be listed independently.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Astroturfing for Christ, or: Make that 38 groups

As we have seen, a number of socially conservative groups have called for the dismissal Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Beverley McLachlin because of her role in chairing the committee that awarded the Order of Canada to Morgentaler.

There seems to be some double counting; as we've already seen, three of the businesses listed have the same address.

The same point can probably be made about this pair, which are 22nd and 23rd in the list.As you can see if you click on the links, these are both part of the same ministry, run by faith healer Rev. Audrey Mabley, who is (are?) the nice lady (ladies?) to the right.

Now, it is perfectly appropriate for Ms. Mabley to express her opinion about the Chief Justice (even though she is, ahem, wrong). But should she be counted twice?


Make that 39 groups

A long list of groups backs the call -- 42 in all-- led apparently by Brian Rushfeldt of the Canadian Family Action Coalition.

Forty-two groups may seem impressive. But as is often the case with these people, there is less here than is claimed. You can see the list and complaint in a pdf here, or over at Benediction, and if you look you'll find "David Murrell, Phd, UNB, Economics" -- who is clearly not a group, but an individual.

And some of those listed aren't groups, but private businesses. Consider these three:
That's not all. If you click on the links you'll see that these three businesses share the same address: 156 Berryman Ave, St. Catharines.  Presumably this is one pro-life business owner. 



Sex and the single cockroach

In case you missed it, there's an article in today's Globe and Mail on recent scientific work on the sex life of cockroaches.  

Not just any cock-roach, but the exotic Madagascar hissing cockroaches (pictured right), which (I'm sure you're keen to know)
    fall into two distinct groups when it comes to sexual behaviour. They are either horny or have a low libido. Horny males are more aggressive and put more effort into the two basic moves involved in roach courtship: hissing and genital thrusting. In fact, horny roaches love sex so much that they will hiss and thrust at pretty much any other roach that moves, male or female.
So now you know.

Witty caption contest 6

OK, folks, another caption contest.  What's kitty thinking?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

witty caption contest 5

What's Laura thinking? (keep in clean, folks)

The name is Karma MacGregor, apparently

Regarding this and this and this, the Tory organizer's name is Karma MacGregor, it seems:


(This is from the Elections Canada database.)

Update. See also Kady O’Malley

Update 2. This blog entry (from last February) mentions "Karma MacGregor of the party's political operations section" as someone who would know that the Conservative nomination in Mississauga East-Cooksville was spoken for.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Should the USA put Oklahoma on a watch list and invade Louisiana?

Over recent months the blogosphere has seen discussions about freedom of expression and its limits in Canada, where the focus has been especially on the roles of provincial and federal Human Rights Commissions.

There has long been a tendency among conservatives to idealize our great neighbor to the south, and this again illustrated by recent critics of the HRCs.

Ezra Levant, for example, appealed to the United States Congress to put Canada on the watch list of human rights abusers (here) because of his experience with the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

Deborah Gyapong (who once worked for Ezra in Stockwell Day's communication shop) posted the cartoon to the right: a light-hearted call to the Americans to free us (one can only assume) from such limits.

There is no country, however, where speech is completely free, not even the United States.

Take the T-Shirt to the right, which repeats the anti-war jingle "Bush lied". ("They died", as you might have guessed, is on the reverse.) This headline is printed over a list of the names of fallen American soldiers: the deaths that Bush (implies the t-shirt) is responsible for.

Now, this is clearly the kind of political statement that we are used to from the anti-war movement.

The t-shirt, however, has been outlawed in five states: Oklahoma, Louisana, Arizona, Texas, Florida. The problem? Some are offended by its use of the names of America's war-dead.

Here is the story from last year: Commercial use of fallen GIs’ names under fire:
    Incensed by the sale of anti-war T-shirts and other paraphernalia emblazoned with the names and pictures of America's military dead, some states are outlawing the commercial use of the fallen without the permission of their families.

    Despite serious questions of constitutionality, Oklahoma and Louisiana enacted such laws last year, and the governors of Texas and Florida have legislation waiting on their desks. Arizona lawmakers are on the verge of approving a similar measure.
Now, as the story points out, the laws probably will probably be found unconstitutional, and it may well be that an American court will eventually intervene and strike down the laws that prohibit their sale.

While we wait for that to happen, however, we surely cannot expect Ezra to ask the American congress to put Oklahoma, Louisana, Arizona, Texas, and Florida on its watch list, or Gyapong to jokingly urge an invasion of these states.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

No better than a blogger, pt. 2

Jonathan Kay of the National Post assures us that "You'll Miss Us When We're Gone" because "certain kinds of important stories that simply cannot be covered, except by deep-pocketed traditional media organizations employing professional journalists."

He presumably wasn't thinking about his own blogging at the National Post, which has led to him being sued, as I pointed out here.

He probably also wasn't thinking about the National Post's Jewish-badges-in-Iran story, which is surely one of the most embarrassing moments in that paper's history -- perhaps, indeed, in the history of Canadian journalism.

To refresh your memory. On May 19, 2006, the National Post ran a front page story that claimed that Iran had passed a law requiring and defining proper dress for Muslims that included an order for Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians to wear special insignia (yellow for Jews, red for Christians and blue for Zoroastrians).

The resonances to Nazi-era Germany were obvious. And just in case a reader might miss them, the article was accompanied by a picture from Nazi-era German of Jews wearing a yellow star (see the screen-cap to the left).

The problem? The story was completely unfounded. Within a few days, it was quickly proven to be false: there was indeed a law before the Iranian parliament concerning dress, but it contained nothing about minorities. The National Post issued a full retraction a few days later.

In this case, of course, those "deep pockets" and "professional journalists" at the National Post's disposal seem to have been no great help. Other news agencies around the world, however, used their resources to better effect in exposing the falsehood.

Before the story could be corrected, however, it had been picked up by news agencies around the world and brought stern denunciation, including from Stephen Harper, newly installed as PM:
    "Unfortunately, we've seen enough already from the Iranian regime to suggest that it is very capable of this kind of action. It boggles the mind that any regime on the face of the Earth would want to do anything that could remind people of Nazi Germany."
Iran, unsurprisingly, reacted by summoning Canada's ambassador to Tehran to explain.

Now, anyone who has spent any time in the blogosphere knows that there are plenty of untruths, half-truths, distortions and misrepresentations to be found, often (as with the National Post) with an axe to grind.

It is not often, however, that a blogger causes an international incident. That, too, apparently requires "deep-pocketed traditional media organizations employing professional journalists".

Update. Some useful blogging references from the time: pogge, Canadian Cynic

Saturday, August 09, 2008

No better than a blogger

Over the last few days we have seen reactions of Kinsella, BCL, and BC in TO to Jonathan Kay's piece in the National Post assuring us that "You'll Miss Us When We're Gone". Kay's point is blogs cannot replace print news media:
    Not to be old-fashioned, but there are certain kinds of important stories that simply cannot be covered, except by deep-pocketed traditional media organizations employing professional journalists.
My reaction: well, yes of course. Traditional news media has many strengths, including financial resources and professional journalists. And, most imporantly, is surely the accumulated wisdom of the journalistic profession, which includes an emphasis on accuracy, fairness, and balance.

There is some irony in Kay being the one to make this point. He, together with the National Post, is currently being sued for defamation over something that Kay wrote in a blog (ahem!) hosted at the National Post site.

In writing that post, Kay used none of the generic strengths of his medium, as can be seen in his statement of defense.
    Jonathan Kay, Richard Warman
I've already discussed elsewhere how unsatisfactory his effort was, even as he describes it, which probably makes his effort look as serious as possible. It is surely to be noted, however, that the professionalism that he identifies as the great strength of traditional news media was totally absent. And what were those 'deep pockets' used for? To attend a single CHR Tribunal hearing? Hardly impressive, and in any case bloggers have been known to do as much (from both sides).

Apart from that, Kay reviewed the act, looked at a few decisions, and read a few published articles. Again, nothing beyond what a blogger might do.

Kay, despite the resources of his medium, seems to have merely repeated something that he found on the internet -- without fact-checking, access for additional sources, or an invitation of rebuttal -- and in that he was no better than a blogger.

Obama v. McCain: the Rock Opera

Obama:


v. McCain

witty caption contest 4

Provide a witty caption and win a prize.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Astroturfing for toasters


Since it seems that every innovation in American campaigning eventually comes to Canada, many will no doubt be interested in this story from the Washington Post on the organization of a web-campaign:
    Spread John McCain's official talking points around the Web -- and you could win valuable prizes!

    That, in essence, is the McCain campaign's pitch to supporters to join its new online effort, one that combines the features of "AstroTurf" campaigning with the sort of customer-loyalty programs offered by airlines, hotel chains, restaurants and the occasional daily newspaper.

    On McCain's Web site, visitors are invited to "Spread the Word" about the presumptive Republican nominee by sending campaign-supplied comments to blogs and Web sites under the visitor's screen name. The site offers sample comments ("John McCain has a comprehensive economic plan . . .") and a list of dozens of suggested destinations, conveniently broken down into "conservative," "liberal," "moderate" and "other" categories. Just cut and paste.
Now, there have been suggestions of cooperation and coordination between the Blogging Tories and the Conservative Party in the past (see also here), but this takes things to a whole new level.  

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Witty caption contest 3

Enter a witty caption in the comments below and win a prize.

Friday, August 01, 2008

This video wasn't long enough, so it was made double-spaced

Excuse me, but your racism is showing

Anyone who's spent any time reading through the ravings over at freedominion.com.pa knows that it is a regular hangout for a wide-selection of cranks, misfits, and loonies. Nor is anyone ever surprised to find bigotry raise its ugly head. Case in point, the horrific incident on the Manitoba bus, where one passenger stabbed another to death and then beheaded him.

A thread was started. First reaction?


Not much later:

The police have now released the suspect's name:

Vince Weiguang Li.

Oops.

Update. Balbulican collects parallels from the blogosphere.