Monday, July 19, 2010

Vacation! What to read while I am away

I am packing to go on a trip to the 50th State. So I won't be blogging for a while. But fear not for I will leave you with much to read while
I away from the keyboard. So if you haven't already (and if you want to understand the phenomenon that is Harper and his government), please read:
Conservative without conscience
Sorry. No image available. But this great book is FREE.

There. That ought to keep you out of trouble.
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Icons of the struggle against oppression from around the world - Re-release

This Star article caught my attention like the assault of a soap bubble bursting in my eye.
He's now known as “Officer Bubbles.”
Const. Adam Josephs has gained considerable notoriety after being caught on tape threatening to arrest a G20 protester for blowing bubbles.

The G20 bubbles incident has also spurred a YouTube cartoon, called “Officer Bubbles.”

In it, a beefed-up police officer in sunglasses threatens to arrest a woman for dancing in the streets. The video ends with a joke that the next episode will feature Officer Bubbles shooting a kitten stuck in a tree.

Meanwhile, it's BYOB at Queen's Park Saturday — that is, bring your own bubbles.

A few hundred protesters are expected to blow bubbles en masse at noon to show support for a public inquiry into police actions during the G20.

Winkels hopes to attend.

In a shameless act of self-aggrandizement and celebration of this definitively Canadian way of non-violent protest I have re-ported this from earlier in the week. Join in. Change your Twitter background to bubbles!

Every struggle for freedom is on the road to victory when an iconic image develops that encapsulates the struggle.

Sometimes it is a person and a single act that they undertook. Such as Rosa Parks.
Of course there are the unknown heroes.
Lately there have been inspiring clothing colours.

But this is Canada. Home of the most feared players in the toughest sport on Earth. Descendants of the victors at Vimy. In short the toughest people on the planet (according to Grapes)

And this is our icon.
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Friday, July 16, 2010

What Dan Gardner said.

99 times out of a 100.

I believe he speaks the truth about loving to write about statistics (MEIB)

Then the campaigns and petitions began. A long, long list of organizations wrote to formally protest the government's "misguided decision" -- that's the phrase polite people use instead of "jackassery" -- and demand its repeal. And these weren't the usual pothead Marxists. It was the Statistical Society of Canada. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The Canadian Marketing Association. The Canadian Association for Business Economics. I doubt the membership of the Canadian Association for Business Economics spends a lot of time reading Das Kapital and taking bong hits.

Then the Earth shook. The change to the census will produce "seriously biased" data, the legendary statistician Ivan Fellegi told this newspaper. It is "indefensible." Coming from a man who spent half a century at Statistics Canada, including 23 years as Chief Statistician, this was rather like Moses returning from the mountain and explaining to the wayward Israelites that, no, you can't worship a golden calf, you idiots.

I should have known better. Remember when Senator Nancy Ruth was blasted for telling women's groups they should "shut the f--- up" about the Harper government's stand on foreign aid and abortion? Ruth was painted as a Conservative bully. That was wrong. Ruth was actually sympathetic to the women's groups and she was warning them that if they kept protesting the Harper government would dig in and get really nasty.

And she was right. That's how this government operates.

Facing an army of angry PhDs, Clement actually fought a Twitter battle about the change with economist Stephen Gordon. Needless to say, Gordon won, a fact confirmed when Fellegi came down from the mountain and smacked Clement with his stone tablets.


By repeating these empty claims without the slightest acknowledgement of what the critics had been saying, the minister was sticking his fingers in his ears while loudly humming Rule Britannia. It was a gesture of contempt. "I can't hear you!" Clement mocked. "I can't hear you!"

The same day, in The Globe and Mail, Bill Robson, president of the C.D. Howe Institute, gently agreed that changing the census is a mistake but he worried that "the reaction from many opponents risks cementing the government's resolve." Bill's a gentleman who would never approve of potty mouth but that sounds an awful lot like Nancy Ruth warning women's groups to "shut the f--- up" because they're dealing with a pack of vindictive knuckleheads.

Which is fine with me. Let the government's resolve to do the unspeakably stupid be cemented, I say. Sure it will waste money, hurt public policy, hamper business, and make us increasingly ignorant even as information becomes increasingly valuable. But I'll have lots more chances to write about statistical methodology.

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What to do. What to do. Jets or healthcare.

Spend $16 Billion on fighter jets. Or fund the most popular program evah. As Jeffery Simpson points out the jet purchase stinks from a military standpoint. Why would a government obsessed with cuts make such a foolish decision. Could it be that there are much better opportunities for graft from military purchases?Recommend this Post

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What Jim Travers said


Need I go on?
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Umm, Steve. It already is

In another example of Stephen Harper's tenuous grasp of reality, Mr. Angry quoth
As an Albertan, I have no interest in seeing this sector centralized in Toronto
As a pragmatic Albertan, I can recognize that putting the regulator in Mrs. Vigilance's hometown makes sense. But the Conservatives prove their ability to create a cluster where none need exist. But doesn't the lack of seats in T.O. stand in the way of his majority? Wouldn't pushing Toronto through as the logical course seem like the natural way to help some over last month's cluster?

Unless this is another example of the ways in which the hate that is at the core of the Conservative soul manifests itself in self-destructive tendencies.
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Monday, July 12, 2010

Some freedoms aren't as fundamental as others

On reflection, it is amazing how smoothly the transition from an open democratic society that respects free speech to an authoritarian dictatorship has happened. I hope they don't wake up the kids when they come in the middle of the night to carry me away.

Think I am being a bit over the top? Think about this (MEIB):

Montreal-based activist Jaggi Singh has been released on bail after agreeing to refrain from protests until his charges from last month’s G20 summit are dealt with in the courts.

“I personally find the no-protest and no-organizing (protests) conditions to be humiliating,” Singh said Monday evening after being freed on $75,000 surety and $10,000 bail. “It's so patently unconstitutional.”

He faces charges of criminal conspiracy, mischief, obstructing police and obstructing justice.

Singh is allowed to return to his home in Montreal, but must refrain from using cellphones.

Singh turned himself in to police on July 6. He is due back in court July 23 for a pre-trial scheduling hearing.

So much for free speech. (S/T to AZ from twitter)

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

G-20 policing: the tipping point? Or is going viral precisely the point?

Dr. Dawg has an optimistic viewpoint on the outcome of the trials Mr. Pruyn was put through.  Cathie From Canada thinks this story is going viral.  While I am hesitant to disagree with them, I would posit that if the whole point of the G20 display of excessive policing is to intimidate rank and file Canadians, demonstrating your willingness to beat up an amputee is an effective way to accomplish that goal.
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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

During the Tiananmen Square demonstrations...

the Chinese government brought in troops for areas far away from Beijing to disperse the crowds. The soldiers in Units 27 & 28 were from a more remote and reactionary area of the country and could be counted on to attack citizens of the the capital when ordered to.

Oops. Wrong link. My bad. Here it is.
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