Sunday, February 22, 2009

I really hope this works

I know that this seems stupid, but ....

Monday, February 16, 2009

Five hours of stupidity

Blazing Cat Fur noticed a story this afternoon on an English website about the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. Who's that? From wikipedia:
    The Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is an international organisation with a permanent delegation to the United Nations. It groups 57 member states, from the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, Caucasus, Balkans, Southeast Asia, South Asia and South America. The official languages of the organisation are Arabic, English and French.
For reasons that remain unlear our firey feline made a joke at the expense of Barbara Hall, the Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (or OHRC):
    Paging Barbara Hall - Organisation of the Islamic Conference plans human rights commission within the OIC.
Did the hirsute fever confuse the OIC and OHRC? It sure looks like it. And not only him.

Over at Free Dominion, fourhorses quoted the story, but changed the headline to
In doing so, he replaced OIC in the headline with OHRC, and filled out the abbreviation.

And then we were off to the races. Over the next five hours:
  • free_life2: “Danger, Will Robinson, DANGER!”
  • Connie Fournier: "Where are we going? And why are we in this handbasket?"
  • Fabulous Fred: "If we do nothing we know what to expect."
  • J.B. Stone: "Gaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhh...........!!!"
  • Fabulous Fred: "It is time for as Christian Human Rights Commission within the OHRC. "
  • Connie Fournier: "I'm slowing changing my opinion from 'we mustn't sink to their level' to 'we can only win through the doctrine of mutually assured destruction'".
  • Edward Kennedy: "When you feel the hatred and anger, the bitterness and the rage, be thankful to your tormentors for they have given you the means that will be your ultimate victory over them, their tyranny, and their imposed bondage."
Etc., etc., for five hours. Until poster LittleCanuck noticed that the story has nothing to do with Ontario. Never did. OIC, not OHRC. But it took five hours before LittleCanuck from Calgary read the headline, read the story, and noticed they didn't go together.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Worthwhile Canadian Initiative

In Newsweek, Fareed Zakaria writes:
The legendary editor of The New Republic, Michael Kinsley, once held a "Boring Headline Contest" and decided that the winner was "Worthwhile Canadian Initiative." Twenty-two years later, the magazine was rescued from its economic troubles by a Canadian media company, which should have taught us Americans to be a bit more humble. Now there is even more striking evidence of Canada's virtues. Guess which country, alone in the industrialized world, has not faced a single bank failure, calls for bailouts or government intervention in the financial or mortgage sectors. Yup, it's Canada. In 2008, the World Economic Forum ranked Canada's banking system the healthiest in the world. America's ranked 40th, Britain's 44th.
So how come my bank stocks are sucking so much?

Read the rest here.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Two cases in point

Human Rights expert Richard Moon testified to a committee of the Ontario Legislature today. You can see more of Moon's testimony preliminary transcript at Kinsella:
There are a number of right-wing critics in Canada who, instead of offering serious and plausible criticism of the Human Rights Code regulations, engage in baseless personal attacks. Without compunction, they accuse the civil servants who are mandated to implement human rights legislation of corruption. They use the term “corruption” freely and very loosely, but always in a way that suggests a significant breach of public trust. The accusations have no substance; they are pieced together out of nothing. But what they achieve, what the commentators want them to achieve, is a general sense that there is a serious problem, even if the specifics of the problem are unknown.
Just what might Prof. Moon mean by "the accusations have no substance; they are pieced together out of nothing"? Two examples come to mind.

One of them was to accuse human rights activist Richard Warman of a nasty racist denunciation of Senator Anne Cools on a racist board in 2003, an accusation that was mindlessly repeated by many conservative bloggers. The problem? It was based on a tissue of half-truths, innuendos, and misunderstandings, as I have shown here and here and here and here, and Warman is suing for defamation.

Or, who can forget the crazy allegation that CHRC employee Dean Steacy had hacked the wifi of an Ottawa woman? Both the RCMP and the privacy commissioner investigated, but both quickly dropped the matter. Why? Because there was no clear evidence that any hacking had taken place (here and here).

My experience of investigating these allegations is that underlying them is a seemingly endless string of exaggerations or half-truths or outright lies.

As Prof. Moon testifies:
Over the last few years, these commentators have made a series of baseless accusations against the members and staff or the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and these claims have leaked into the mainstream media, into the National Post, and into the columns of the Globe and Mail. Believe none of it. As I said at the outset, there are some serious questions to be addressed, but I have come to the conclusion that certain individuals who have played a large role in the campaign against human rights laws and human rights commissions, particularly in the context of hate speech, have no interest in serious debate or in the truth.
And that, as we say, is that.