Saturday, June 21, 2008

Late Show: Shock

In this 1946 film noir thriller, psychiatrist Dr. Cross (Vincent Price) kills his wife and expects to get away with murder, until he discovers that the slaying was observed by a next-door neighbor, Janet Stewart (Anabel Shaw). As Janet attempts to convince her husband (Frank Latimore) of the doctor's dastardly deed, Cross shows up to advise him that Janet is in dire need of some in-depth counseling...

Study: Children Opposed to Children’s Healthcare

We surveyed over two thousand children and we found that across the board they were strongly opposed to doctors visits, vaccination programs, and essentially every healthcare service some politicians are saying government should provide. It’s clear these children are worried that increased government funding for health insurance is a slippery slope to socialized healthcare…

National Aboriginal Day

Death of Tecumseh

In case you weren’t aware, it’s National Aboriginal Day, a celebration honouring the cultural contributions of First Nation, Inuit and Metis people. First proclaimed 12 years ago by a Liberal government, National Aboriginal Day is held on June 21 because of the cultural significance of the first day of summer, the longest day of the year and the rebirth of Mother Earth.

Pictured above is the Death of Tecumseh from a frieze in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol. Tecumseh, a brilliant Shawnee Indian chief, warrior, and orator, is shown being fatally shot by the American Colonel Johnson at the Battle of the Thames in Upper Canada (near Chatham, to be exact) during the War of 1812. Tecumseh and his followers joined forces with the British to resist the encroachment of settlers on Indian territory. For whatever it’s worth, Tecumseh is ranked 37th in The Greatest Canadian list, but some might argue his importance far exceeds such an insignificant tribute in light of his critical role in the defence of Canada during the War of 1812.

Victoria Totems

On a more strictly “cultural” note, from a decidedly local perspective, could anyone possibly imagine Victoria without our totem poles? It’s unthinkable. These, by the way, aren’t just rotting old artifacts of the Bella Coola, Haida, Kwakiutl, Tlingit, Tsimshian and other west coast tribes. The practice carries on to this day through new generations of native artists and carvers dedicated to preserving the history of our local native heritage as well as honouring tribal rituals and sacred spirits of aboriginal people.

NHL 2008 Draft: Habs… Not “Hab Nots”

Habs Puck

Hope springs eternal.

McCain Protected by “Cultural Safeguards”

Via the delightfully-named “Public Service Administration”:

Dedicated to those too squeamish to discuss an incident related to the temperament and character of a guy who'd like to be President. McCain’s freaky-mean ‘92 outburst is a well-sourced story found in Cliff Schecter’s book The Real McCain. Due to the particularly profane nature of the offense it would probably be useless to wait for the press to give it the full-on, endlessly repeating, 24-7 Reverend Wright treatment. So we’d love to help.

It would probably be unfair to hold McCain to account for one intemperate outburst from sixteen years ago where he used a particularly offensive word towards his wife in response to a trifling incident… I mean, it’s not like he’s ever blown up and launched into profanity laced outbursts in the Senate or anything… Err, what? Oh, really. Never mind.

Note: This is an uncensored version — highly NSFW. You’ve been warned.

Idiot Nation: Flunking “Skill-Testing Questions”

Skill Testing

Speaking of Teh Stupid, meet Sandra Poitras of Sudbury, Ontario, a outstanding representative of the “Timmies demographic” that the STEPHEN HARPER Party tries so desperately to reach with their messaging. Sandra was a lucky winner earlier this year in Tim Hortons’ Roll Up the Rim to Win contest. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to claim her spanky new GPS navigation system because… she failed to answer the “skill testing question” correctly. Not just once, but TWICE!

And what was the “skill-testing question” you ask. No advanced degrees in calculus required here, it was: 8 x 6 - 5 + 9. The correct answer, of course, is 52; something many people could easily work out in their head, or a sum quickly arrived at by any dolt with a calculator. But not Poitras… Oh no. Mind you, her answer was darned close…51; but still, no cigar. Given that these ridiculously simple questions are just a formality required to circumvent anti-gambling provisions of the Criminal Code (Wired has an excellent article on the subject here), the folks at Tim Horton’s gave Poitras a second chance and asked her to re-submit her claim. An opportunity which, with truly breathtaking stupidity, she managed blow by offering up THE SAME WRONG ANSWER!

Just ponder that for a moment and attempt, if you can, to fathom the catastrophic levels of idiocy required to provide the same wrong answer again in the hopes of somehow winning. What on earth was she thinking? For that matter, what was she thinking when naming her son “Keyano Bureau”? Hell, why didn’t she just go all the way and call him “Throat Mangrove Stoat Warbler” or some such thing? Well, in fairness, we’re helpfully informed by the reporter from Sun Media that Poitras has an unspecified “learning disability” which seems like a rather polite way of describing the condition of being a total fucking moron.

A little icing to the stupid cake is added by the Poitras’ huffy indignation when she was first (and yet again) informed that she’d answered the “skill testing” question incorrectly. “I think it’s wrong,” she said. “I didn’t enter a draw. I won it.” (a read of the rules, quickly dispels this misconception, by the way). Accordingly, the woman with the “learning disability” who was too stupid and/or lazy to double-check her answer with a calculator or have a friend verify it, proceeded to “harass” the company until they finally capitulated. “I wasn’t going to back off” Poitras said, describing her triumph.

Self-righteous and obdurately dumb as a bag of rocks… now, if that isn’t the epitome of The STEPHEN HARPER Party’s target demographic, I don’t know what is.

Green Shift: The “Conservative” Response

Brain Dumb

Well, you know you’re onto something when, in response to Harper’s remarks that the Liberal carbon tax plan will “screw everybody across the country” that thoughtful, highly informed analyst and truth-seeker “Trusty Tory” writes approvingly: “Finally a Prime Minister of Canada that doesn’t pull punches, doesn’t try and be all things to all people, and most of all, tells the truth.”

Ah yes, the “truth”… something that can only be used in an ironic sense whenever dealing with the Trusty One. Meanwhile, Don Drummond, the chief economist at TD Bank, speaking on CTV’s Canada AM morning program on Friday said Stéphane Dion’s “Green Shift” carbon tax plan is “a good start” that will leave the general Canadian taxpayer “better off.”

So, who are you going to “trust” — a prominent Canadian economist with the TD Bank, or a clueless, 20-something Kool-Aid® guzzler from Barrie?

Peabody’s Improbable History

Set the WABAC Machine for 1959… that’s the year Jay Ward’s classic cartoon first debuted as part of the show Rocky and His Friends.

Colbert Challenge: Pulp McCain

McCain’s Address in Ottawa (Updated)

I’m just watching it live on CBC at the moment. I wonder if he realizes that all his laudatory praise for the “hard work” of deficit cutting and fiscal prudence compared to the profligacy of the Bush administration refers to previous Liberal governments. I can’t wait for the video to appear if/when it’s available.

Oooo, what a probing question by Stephen Taylor: “If you become President of the United States, will you make Canada your first foreign visit?” Groan.

Update: Here’s Taylor’s painfully dumb question from yesterday. Also, AMERICblog exposes the dodgy financing behind McCain’s campaign fundraising trip.

Meet the Natives (Ep.2 — Part 4)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Late Show: Battle of the Worlds

Il Pianeta degli Uomini Spenti

Hollywood veteran Claude Rains stars in this 1961 Italian-produced sci-fi tale directed by Antonio Margheriti. A stray planet on a collision course with Earth instead takes orbit around our blue marble. What seems like a dead planet suddenly launches a fleet of flying saucers which attack our space fleets. Features above-average space scenes and special effects (for its time).

What did you expect… Maturity?


Or perhaps were you anticipating thoughtful analysis and informative, fact-based counter-argument? No, of course you weren’t. Sadly, this breathtakingly inane, numbingly stupid kind of response is what we’ve all come to expect from the howling jackanapes in the PMO these days. It’s a rather sad comment actually on how low our expectations have sunken. It’s deeply, deeply pathetic.

Update: It’s been pointed out that this feeble parody site was put together by Stephen Taylor and not the Conservative Party. Indeed, this is so — a fact not lost on me. However, given that grasping young fellow and venal hack is little more than a truckling creature of the PMO, I considered it a distinction without any appreciable difference.

Rate the New Liberal GreenShift Ad — Poll

Well, here’s the new advertisement that’s part of the Liberals’ “GreenShift” launch.

Seems like a good time for a poll — something we haven’t had nearly enough of around here lately.

Update: Advance-dated to keep this at the top for a while.

Oh, and welcome Conservatives and Dippers!

Update2: The combo ad is no longer available. The Libs have apparently re-posted the ads separately. Just an observation... but I wonder if having a big snail in the thumbnail to the video was necessarily the greatest idea. Seems to invite parody, if you ask me. One other thing (for what it’s worth) the poll was originally intended to apply to the first ad, but of course, you can rate them in aggregate if you prefer.

Insurance Jive

Here’s a clever PSA by the Office of the Los Angeles City Attorney Health Insurance Investigation and the Office of the Los Angeles City Attorney regarding denial of health insurance claims or coverage due to unlawful, fraudulent or unfair practices. This is the wonderful kind of “free market” healthcare system most of our friends at the “Blogging Tories” would just desperately love Canada to have if they had their druthers.

Called “Insurance Jive” it’s based on the true story of Patsy Bates. Health Net canceled – or “rescinded” – Patsy’s health insurance policy after this 52-year-old grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer, forcing Patsy to halt chemotherapy for several months while piling up $129,000 in medical bills. In the ad, which is inspired by the scene from Airplane where Barbara Billingsley translates “jive,” actress Beth Broderick plays a nurse who attempts to translate Insurance speak to a couple in her care.

Behemoth Stupidity


It seems a white-knuckle ride on “The Behemoth” (pictured above) at Canada’s Wonderland, left Joanne’s noggin even more brain-addled than usual. Today, she ponders the crippling effects the Liberals’ proposed “GreenShift” would presumably have on the country’s biggest amusement park, and by extension the Canadian tourism industry at large (“the beginning of the end” she suggests). I kid you not. Of course, none of her hysterically alarmist speculation is based on any… oh, what are those things that tend to annoy Joanne so much… ah, yes… facts or evidence; but gee, it sure is fun to let one’s imagination run wild, isn’t it?

At the risk of pointing out the obvious — oddly, something that never seems to have occurred to Joanne — the imposition of a carbon tax doesn’t seem to have impeded the successful operation of numerous amusement parks in Europe (approximate 300). Indeed, the top ten including Tivoli Gardens, Legoland, Disneyland Paris, Europa Park and so on, all seem to be merrily humming along with visitors approaching 50 million people, despite carbon tax regimes that are significantly more comprehensive and punitive to consumers than that proposed by the Liberals. Funny that.

Also, it might be worth noting a couple of other things. The great icon of the Canadian tourist industry in question is actually owned by the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company of Sandusky, Ohio. Also, the overwhelming majority of Wonderland’s market is concentrated in and around Toronto. Accordingly, the facility is well served by public transit with the TTC, YRT, MT, etc. all providing specific, seasonal routes to the park.

Colbert Challenge: Emperor McCain

Part of the “McCain Green Screen Challenge” (“Make McCain Interesting!”), launched by Stephen Colbert subsequent to McCain’s dreadful speech in New Orleans several weeks ago, that was delivered in front of an unflattering green backdrop.

Dems: Heads in the Sand

Josh Marshall meets up with Matt Yglesias at The Strand bookstore in lower Manhattan where’s he was promoting his new foreign policy book Heads in the Sand: How the Republicans Screw Up Foreign Policy and Foreign Policy Screws Up the Democrats.

Somewhat related, but on the domestic front, is the Dems’ capitulation with a deal that would grant new spying powers to President Bush and arrange retroactive amnesty for telecommunications companies accused of illegal surveillance. Way to go Dems!

Meanwhile, Barack Obama has been mostly silent as the House caved into White House demands for more surveillance power. He’s advocated civil liberties and accountability during previous clashes over surveillance, voting against a White House spying bill in August, but sidestepped the issue this week, despite pleas from supporters that he speak out on this fundamental issue.

Meet the Natives (Ep.2 — Part 3)

“Seeing this place makes me think that something is back-to-front in English culture.” — Tanna tribesman, on visiting a dog grooming salon.

The quest for Prince Philip continues…

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Spitball of the Day: Part 4


Now, where were we? Oh yes, me supposedly being a rabid ideologue of some sort. Here’s where “Tha Flamethrower” attempts to get very serious; self-righteously scolding me for using the handle “Red Tory” because, apparently, I fail to “adhere” (why the italicized emphasis is required escapes me) “to the principles of the noble tradition of red toryism…” Such orthodox punctiliousness is fairly amusing coming from someone who flamboyantly styles himself as the clownish “Nexus of Assholery” and a host of other ridiculous monikers. But never mind that quibble, let’s see what’s really bothering the corpulent “Kid Cash” shall we?

It seems that, somehow or other, I “trample [the tradition of red toryism] to death”... Yikes! It’s not specified at all how this is so, but it sounds just downright rotten, doesn’t it? Perhaps his rationale for this allegation is my supposed indifference to the plight of aboriginal Canadians — a wholly ridiculous charge based on nothing more than my refusal to “debate” a petulant troll who then wildly extrapolated this rejection into a grotesque pack of lies about what he imagines my political outlook to be. Moreover, I’m accused of “insisting” that I “don’t need to behave like a red tory”… whatever that might possibly mean. One wonders how Red Tories “behave” exactly; or where they shop, for that matter.

Late Show: Necronomicon

From the master of terror comes a chilling tale of unspeakable evil.

A collection of three horrifying tales adapted from H.P. Lovecraft’s short stories. Episodes center around a man who inherits a haunted hotel, a reporter who stumbles on a terrifying secret, and a female cop whose descent into a cavern is like a visit to Hell itself.

The Crimean War: Part 2 – The Valley of Death

Not though the soldier knew
Some one had blundered:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die…

EURO 2008: Germany v. Portugal

Germany progressed to the semi-finals of the UEFA European Championship for the first time since 1996 as goals from Bastian Schweinsteiger, Miroslav Klose and Michael Ballack secured a 3-2 victory over Portugal in Basel

End of the World: Oops! Better Luck Next Time...

Good grief, people can be stupid. This Yisrayl Hawkins character (aka “Buffalo Bill” Hawkins) is apparently known for predicting that nuclear war would start on September 12, 2006. He’s since amended that date multiple times as his deadlines passed without any clear incident, including the one made just the other week. Undeterred by reality however, Hawkins remains eternally hopeful that before too long, the entire world will be destroyed — except of course for his heavily fortified trailer park in Abeline, Texas. Praise Jesus! Hallelujah!

David Sedaris: City of Angeles

Sedaris is looking forward to an annual December visit from his friend Alisha. Alisha is the quiet laid back type of guest that feels comfortable lounging on the couch reading magazines and being ignored if her host is busy. She is always flexible with her plans and willing to do anything. As such, Sedaris always looks forward to her visits.

A few days before her annual visit, Alisha calls to tell Sedaris that she will be bringing a friend. Bonnie, a native of Greensborough, North Carolina, has never been anywhere outside a fifty mile radius of Greensborough. Alisha, consistently a poor judge of character, describes Bonnie as sweet. Immediately Sedaris is aware that the additional guest may be a problem...

GreenShift or GreenShaft?


Finally, the Liberals launched a new website featuring Dion’s long-awaited carbon tax “plan” (downloadable PDF file of the booklet and brochure) now re-branded as a “Green Shift.”

Time to start digging into the details… Talking heads for the Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation are of course already bitching about it. A “Green Shaft” according to them; it’s nothing but a giant tax grab that will hurt the dreaded “soccer moms” and “hockey dads”… consumers and families are going to get screwed, yada yada yada…Well, perhaps. We shall see if sense can be made of it.

Oily Squeals!

Very clever. “Oily” the Conservatives’ spokesblob turns whistleblower about the sixteen Canadian lakes slated to be “reclassified” as toxic dump sites for mines.

BT Wanker of the Day: The “Pederast Brain”

Simply unbelievable:

Christians understand that, since the Fall, man inherits a corrupt, that is, sinful, nature through Adam. We are born into the world with defective, disordered natures. Put it this way: we are not sinners just because we sin; we sin because we are sinners. Homosexuality will continue to be seen, in this light, as objectively disordered against the objective standard of male and female which can be seen in nature, and, if you can’t see it there, in Scripture. The remedy is not the normalization of this or any other sin; it is Christ.

Urgh. And it actually gets even more perniciously idiotic from there. I really don’t have time for this today, but others may want to give the bouncing ball a few well-deserved kicks

Medieval Lives: The King

Medieval kings can be divided into three sorts. There was the good... the bad... and the ugly. Amidst all the uncertainties of history, one thing we can be sure of: we know who our Medieval kings were, and what they were like. Or do we?

Prison Costs Booming… Imagine!

Here’s something else that’s completely obvious:

Mandatory sentences blamed for boom in cost of prisons

Imposing mandatory minimum prison terms on criminal offenders is adding approximately $80-million per year to the price of justice, says an Ontario judge privy to correctional statistics and projections.

“We have been told that federal correctional officials estimate they will increase the sentenced population by 1,000 prisoners per year,” the judge said in an interview.

It costs about $80,000 a year to keep a penitentiary inmate, so the additional burden of those on mandatory minimum sentences multiplies out to $80-million.

Yeah, but mandatory minimum sentences are necessary to stem the tidal wave of crime that’s engulfing us, right?

Prof. Doob said that studies have repeatedly shown that mandatory minimum sentences have no deterrent effect on prospective criminals and crime rates.

Very few criminals have any idea what sentencing ranges pertain to particular offences, he said, let alone being deterred by the prospect of drawing a certain sentence.


Note: Video isn’t “work-safe” due to course language.

Tiger Woods: “Man Who Used Stick To Roll Ball…”

I’ve been watching CNN this morning and every 20 minutes or so they’ve been featuring news that Tiger Woods has been sidelined for the remainder of the year due to knee surgery. I couldn’t help but think of this hilarious article from the The Onion:

A man who used several different bent sticks to hit a ball to an area comprised of very short grass surrounding a hole in the ground was praised for his courage Monday after he used a somewhat smaller stick to gently roll the ball into the aforementioned hole in fewer attempts than his competitors.

“What guts, what confidence,” ESPN commentator Scott Van Pelt said of the man, who was evidently unable to carry his sticks himself, employing someone else to hold the sticks and manipulate the flag sticking out of the hole in the ground while he rolled the ball into it. “You have to be so brave, so self-assured, so strong mentally to [roll a ball into a hole in the ground]. Amazing.” The man in question apparently hurt his knee during this activity.

Very droll.

From the Land of Duh: “Fighting Threatens Rebuilding”

Thanks for stating the completely bleeding obvious there, Pete. Not to be outdone in this regard, International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda, called the conditions in Kandahar “challenging”… No kidding. What a team! Pure genius, these two.

Hanging With McCain: “Bad Optics”

In another profile in courage, Stephen Harper will conveniently be out of town when Sen. John McCain comes to Ottawa to address the Economic Club of Canada. According to the lefty National Post, the PMO “concerned about the optics, also advised staff working for MPs to avoid the speech.” Golly, what a disappointment for the presumptive Republican nominee.

“Mr. McCain's advisors had hoped for a formal meeting with the Prime Minister or someone from the government, but were told there would be no meeting during his Ottawa visit.” Run away... run away!

Update: Greg Weston — Hide! It’s McCain!

While We’re Waiting…

Here’s widely demonized environmentalist David Suzuki from the Question Period program back in May discussing the idea of a carbon tax, the NDP’s puzzling opposition to it, the “Conservatives” failures on the environment, and the hopelessness of so-called “aspirational targets” that the government has established to supposedly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Some hints about the plan are outlined in The Star this morning, cribbed apparently from a 40 page booklet (“printed on recycled, biodegradable paper” it’s noted). Unfortunately though, the PDF version doesn’t appear to be on their website yet. Also, it’s reported that “Dion will unveil an array of other proposed measures” which aren’t specified.

So, it’s still wait and see until later in the day I guess…

Spitball of the Day: Part 3


Okay, we’ll try to make this one short and sweet. Here’s “Thunderbolt Ross” attempting to demonstrate how reckless I am with facts. Now, I could be mistaken, but I don’t believe I’ve ever said that “nobody” reads his shitty little blog — that would obviously be incorrect. What I have done is call it “obscure” and “dismal” and so on, which according to the latest Alexa ratings, it most definitely is — it’s mired in the distant 4 million plus range. And I have stated that nobody, or almost nobody comments on it — something that’s demonstrably true.

But here’s where the fun begins. Presented as irrefutable counters to the imagined assertion on my part that literally “nobody” reads his blog, “The Diamond Kid” offers his IPLigence vistor map, which I think has been on his sidebar for well over a month and by my count indicates something like maybe 700 visitors in that time. Whoop-dee-doo! I get more than that in a day. But then, “The Mindbender” doesn’t care about popularity and sneers at it with elitist contempt. Second up, and this is truly desperate, the results of a poll that he’s had on his site since June 7 and in that time has received a whopping 27 votes. Wowza! Look out Gallup. Well, he sure showed me that he was wrong when he imagined that I said “nobody” read his blog, didn’t he?

Having demolished his feeble strawman with a powerful demonstration of the fact that very few people read his blog, “Thunderbolt Ross” then concludes, for no apparent reason, with the rhetorical question “who needs facts when you have ideology?” Indeed. What that has to do with anything however, isn’t clear… and what “ideology” is he referring to? Who knows? Maybe we’ll find out in the next thrilling installment.

Baxter’s World

Glen Baxter1

I love this one.

The View: Michelle Obama

In case you missed it for some reason. Arguably, this and other daytime chatterfests are becoming far more influential than the Sunday yak shows like Meet the Press. Maybe not as bad a thing as one might first assume.

Countdown: McCain Raised Your Gas Prices!

Well, that seems to be the gist of this murky, convoluted tale Olbermann is spinning here. Oh sure, it’s somewhat intriguing and more than a little entertaining, but it seems like a bit of a stretch to pin the blame for high gas prices on McCain. There’s more on this to be found at Consortium News, where I suspect much of this jeremiad came from.

Meet the Natives (Ep.2 — Part 2)

“Everywhere I look, I can see black people, white people, every colour of people, all together…and they all look happy.” An observation made by one of the men from Tanna while exploring the streets of Manchester. Later, they find the concepts of homelessness and poverty difficult to comprehend compared to their island where no one is homeless and “everyone is equal in wealth”… Hmmm. What a crazy idea!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Spitball of the Day: Part 2


As groan-inducing as it is, let’s take another look at the asinine twaddle of the self-described “Thunderbolt Ross” aka the The Doughy Mullethead, et. al. Here’s a quick translation of the above-noted extract: “Boo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo!”

It’s pretty laughable that “Tha Flamethrower” appears to think that his pompous bloviations on the Internet are going to make some tangible difference to the lives of aboriginal people in Canada — something I might add that otherwise appears not to be much of a pressing concern according to his own dismal little blog. Out of 551 posts at his perfectly described “Nexus of Assholery” it appears there’s precisely one dealing with aboriginal issues (and it was hacktacular mess that eventually wandered off topic and got hopelessly lost).

I really don’t know what this guy’s problem is. It’s not like I shut down the discussion or closed off comments or anything like that. I just said that I personally didn’t want to get into a “debate” over the matter, especially at that particular point in time. The post was intended to be about Pierre Poilievre’s horribly timed and ill-considered remarks, not a broader discussion that explored all the problems of the aboriginals in Canada. However, if people want to off on that tangent, well, nobody was stopping them. Good grief… what’s so hard to understand about that. It’s beyond me how “The Mindbender” twists this into a “Fuck that… Fuck them” attitude on my part towards the plight of native people living in desperate poverty and maladministration by the government over many decades. As I said at the time, it’s a fair discussion to have, that however just wasn’t the appropriate venue or time in my opinion.

And this has to be one of the dumbest things ever written: “Better to turn your back on those thousands of people living in poverty than to ever dirty your hands ever talking about how to solve that problem.” Yeah, because talking about it and blathering ad nauseam on the Internet can really make a BIG difference to the lives of native peoples in Canada. Golly, thank goodness our aboriginals have “Thunderbolt Ross” working fantastically hard to improve their lives by pissing off all sorts of people around the web and throwing petulant tantrums whenever they elect not to engage in one of his self-serving “debates” regarding an issue that’s suddenly of great concern to him. As for this notion of dirtying one’s hands, perhaps “Kid Cash” should try cleaning his keyboard in order to remove his defluxion and/or past seminal discharge… Just a suggestion. Oh, and here’s another one. The word is spelled “caricature” — I told you that before, you pompous baboon; but you still don’t seem to get it.

Late Show: Dr. Who

S04E01: Partners in Crime

With a new weight-loss pill tested in London by Adipose Industries, The Doctor goes to investigate the sinister truth behind the product, only to find out that his old friend Donna Noble is investigating as well…

Bill C-10: Cons Outfoxed by the Senate

I’m pretty sure that I’ve posted this before, but it seemed appropriate in light of the predictable reaction of the government that’s expected to Liberals in the Senate calling Flaherty’s bluff on Bill C-10. As Frank says, “We should be hearing ‘unelected, unaccountable, unrepresentative Senate’ over and over again any minute now.” Undoubtedly.

I don’t know why some people are so pissed at Stéphane Dion for the way he handled this. Contrary to the shrill allegations that he and Liberal MPs are gutless, spineless, rudderless, coalition of “shrinking violets” with an “utter lack of resolve, direction and courage,” I’m opting instead for what’s presumed to be “the least likely scenario” — that is, the exercise of “political acumen” by Dion in allowing the Upper House to take the lead on this matter. It seems to me that everything worked out quite well, all considered. So what’s the problem?

Update: Unrepentant Old Hippie has more. Today, Chuck McVety’s rotten and twisted censorship dreams were dashed upon the rocks of reason, sanity and freedom by two Liberal Senators…

Vestas: Modern Energy

Very cool promotional film for the Danish company Vestas that claims to be “the world’s leading supplier of wind power solutions.”

Kate McMillan: “Frighteningly Ignorant”

Hot Fur

“This kook must be one of those people who likes to wear a fur coat on a hot summer day.” — P.Z. Myers

This was in response to the original post at SDA that claiming that “the actual trapping of heat cannot raise an object’s temperature in the first place. It only slows down heat loss.”

As usual, the comments at Pharyngula are hilarious. Here’s Mark who says: “It’s just creationist science taken to the next step. Since evolution is impossible because of the 2nd Law of thermodynamics, we know there is no external source of heat (the sun is simply an illusion, so don’t mention it). Therefore, trapping the existing heat on earth cannot increase earth’s temperature. Simple, right?”

Afghanistan: What Now?

Fred Kaplin in Slate:

Meanwhile, Taliban attacks are up considerably from last year despite increases in NATO and Afghan troop levels. Gen. Dan McNeill, who recently finished a 16-month tour as NATO commander in Afghanistan, said last week that we need 400,000 troops to control the country. There are now just 110,000 (including 58,000 from the still-green Afghan National Army) and few prospects for recruiting many more—none for remotely approaching McNeill’s desired head count.

What a horrific mess. Kaplin concludes that a “grand bargain” of some sort has to be struck, but notes that the nations involved “have so many disputes, so many conflicting interests, it is hard to imagine what the outlines of such a deal would look like.” Indeed.

Terrorism Tutorial

From the The Onion Movie (released on DVD this month, apparently).

“Shift Happens” (Updated)

Dion’s Green Shift

Heh. Good one.

Should be interesting to see the actual plan when it’s rolled out tomorrow. I wonder how all the advance speculation by critics will stand up to scrutiny when the details are finally revealed. I suspect the dreaded Tax on Everything™ imagined by hysterical Tory partisans will, as usual, turn out to be a lot of poppycock. As Paul Wells said the other day, “The advance reviews are so awful, it has to be good.” Quite so.

Update: Garth has a great post on this today. “The differences between the GST and the Green Shift are legion and, to the consumer and taxpayer, there will be no valid comparison. Once you see the plan tomorrow you will understand this is not a retail tax. It will not increase any prices overnight. It will come with billions in tax cuts and new benefits that increase the cash flow of every family. It’ll spur businesses to take corrective action. It will shame the Conservatives who have cried wolf.”

Update2: Interesting post and comments at Scott Tribe’s place about the poaching of ideas from the Green Party regarding Dion’s proposed carbon tax (or whatever it finally gets called) and how that might play out in terms of electoral politics. From The Star: “With its more sweeping taxes and savings, the Green plan may help pave the way to making the Liberal plan look more modest and practical, though Green Leader Elizabeth May, already in an informal co-operation pact with Dion, says that’s not the motivation.”

Ugh! The Stupid, It Burns!

Some people just don’t know when to quit. What purpose does this serve? How is it helpful in any way at all? It’s totally counterproductive. I’m sure the GOP strategists will be delighted however. Complete idiocy…

Blogging from Brussels

Brussels EU Parliament

A plug for our friend “Sir Francis” (aka Dred Tory) who is currently blogging from Belgium.

Check out his travelogue — it’s tremendous fun.

Kunstler: The Tragedy of Suburbia

In James Howard Kunstler’s view, public spaces should be inspired centers of civic life and the physical manifestation of the common good. Instead, he argues, what we have in America is a nation of places not worth caring about.

I may have posted this in the past, but it bears repeating.

Countdown: Best Dumb Criminals

Via Blue State: A man allegedly threatened his girlfriend, so police were summoned. Upon the officers’ arrival, the man looked at his 9 foot long albino python, pointed at the policemen, and told the snake, “Get them.”

McCain: Environmental Confusion or Smart Move?

It’s certainly a flip-flop from his past stance on “windfall profits” on the oil producers and the decision to support offshore drilling, but so what? Personally, I happen to agree with both of McCain’s reversals. Offshore drilling certainly won’t have any immediate impact whatsoever on gas prices, but are the objections to this method of extraction justified? Why exactly is there a huge “No Zone” around most of the United States? Increasing domestic production seems to make a lot of sense in view of the rapidly growing global demand.

Update: More on the political take from the left.

Fortier “Awash” in Money…

Fortier’s Money Bin

And this would be a surprise, how?

Kind of interesting to see how much money has been raised by various cabinet ministers though.

I’d be highly curious to know how much money Scott Brison raised when he was Minister of Public Works and Government Services… Does anyone know?

Rule Britannia!


Gosh, it makes me so proud that with $20.1 billion in new business, the United Kingdom was the world’s biggest arms seller last year. That’s a huge amount, but putting it into perspective, it’s still only 4.5% of all British exports.

Canada by the way, is the sixth-biggest supplier of military goods to the world, according to the most recent report by the U.S. Congressional Research Service. The former government’s last annual report to Parliament, for 2002, showed that military exports had climbed to $678 million from $304 million in 1997.

Current figures are unavailable however and requests by the CBC for in-depth interviews with International Trade Minister David Emerson and Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier regarding arms controls have been denied. The CBC News also states that “for a full year, requests for background briefings by export control officials were also turned down.” So much for the Harper government’s vaunted “transparency.” Oh, and according to the Small Arms Survey, a Geneva-based monitoring group, Canada’s transparency rating on arms controls dropped to 10.5 on a scale out 20, just above that of Iran with a rating of 11. Hmmm. How impressive.

David Sedaris: Bend Over and Say “Ah”

I’ve become a huge fan of Sedaris lately. This reading is from series of essays about his life as “An American in Paris” that I believe were originally broadcast on NPR. Here he discusses his various phobias, hypochondriac imaginings and the “systematic breakdown” of his body. Americans readers will perhaps be envious of the treatment he received in the French health care system, especially the lackadaisical approach to billing that makes Sedaris observe “it was as if everyone was on Demerol.”

Spitball of the Day: Part 1


I should probably just ignore this desperate cry for attention, but let’s have some fun with the egregious mendacity of the self-described “Diamond Kid aka Kid Cash aka Thunderbolt Ross aka Tha Flamethrower aka The Mindbender aka...”

Above is the second paragraph of his didactic tantrum and already there’s four blatant lies. Does Kid Cash even know what “intemperate” means? Perhaps he should look it up. Also, what the heck does it mean to be “an intemperate”? Apparently The Mindbender doesn’t understand what an adverb is.

What are these supposed “inflated pseudo-controversies” that the Diamond Kid alleges me to constantly jump on? It’s a blog, for chrissake! If he’s referring to the usual Sturm und Drang and political memes that are grist for the mill, well then I’m no different from untold thousands of others in that regard. And since when did I claim to be “an original thinker”? Oh right, never.

Supposedly, Cynic is my “lord and master”… Uh huh. This is just more spillover from The Flamethrower’s pathological obsession with Cynic which is truly pathetic; a delusional fixation that borders on being downright creepy and weird. The guy even attempts to flog T-shirts that libelously malign the guy on his dismal little blog.

Do I “pretend to be an intellectual”? Well, I suppose, but the alleged pretense is simply The Flamethrower’s imagination at work. Do I refuse “to ever debate a real issue? It seems to me there have been a lot of lively “debates” or, as I prefer to regard them “discussions” around here — maybe he should check the comments (something that never occurs on his obscure corner of the web). Of course, this petulant bit of hyperbole is based on the fact that I didn’t want to discuss the broader issue of aboriginal affairs on a post where I was just pointing out that Pierre Poilievre’s comments on a radio program the same day as the Residential School Apology was being made were grotesque, insulting and wholly inappropriate. Being a classic troll however, Thunderbolt Ross wanted to change the subject and commandeer the thread with a “debate” he demanded be undertaken. Well, sorry Patrick, but I don’t bend so easily to the self-serving whims of trolls.

Baxter’s World

Glen Baxter1

I stumbled across this fellow via the always intriguing Art MoCo website.

Glen Baxter is a British cartoonist who’s created a bizarre world peopled by cowboys and Robin Hoods along with a lot of food-related humour and artistic references thrown into the mix to create what Baxter describes as a place “where surreal humour and tofu collide.”

Meet the Natives (Ep.2 — Part 1)

If you’ve missed earlier parts of the series, this is a good place to pick up the thread of the story of the five ambassadors from the remote South Pacific island of Tanna who travel to the other side of the world to experience traditional English culture.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Late Show: Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

A Channel 4 comedy series, released in 2004, that lampoons 1980s television drama, particularly horror, sci-fi, and “the rampant egotism of self-appointed Mastermind authors.” The show presents Darkplace as though it were a real, low-budget television series, produced in the 1980s, and now getting its first screening; this hoax is the basis of the show’s fictional frame. Darkplace’s fictional show-within-a-show includes deliberately poor production and special effects, sub-par acting, and storylines that are “severely flawed and open-ended,” interspersed with “present-day interviews” with the cast.

The Stupid Factory (Canadian Edition)

Stupid Factory

Um, you mean like this?

Update: Via the Wingnuterer, the REAL Canadian Stupid Factory.

Boris on Getting Ahead

I have also brooded on the results of some study in Australia, which showed that making bike helmets compulsory deterred so many people from cycling that there was a rise in obesity — and more people ended up dying of heart attacks than were saved by the head-gear.

Heh. More from/about Boris and his “bonce-protector” (or lack thereof, to be more precise) writing in this morning’s Telegraph.

Irrespective of his politics, I truly like this character. We need more public figures like this.

The Crimean War: Part 1 – The Reason Why

Arguably the first “modern” conflict, the Crimean War is principally remembered for three reasons: the Charge of the Light Brigade, horrific maladministration in the British army, and the ministrations of Florence Nightingale. However, this war, fought by an improbable alliance of Britain, France, Turkey and Sardinia against the Russian Empire, is far more complex. Many wars have been fought on the grounds of the strategic importance of a region; many wars have been fought over religious differences. The Crimean War was the result of both factors.

This excellent Channel 4 documentary is based on contemporary accounts made through journals, diaries, and war correspondence and features many pictures from the first war photographers.

For more information on the subject, The Crimean War Research Society is a great place to start.

Al Gore (Finally) Endorses Obama

Oh sure, the Gore-haters will have a field day, but so what? And yes, it was inevitable, completely predictable and hardly a profile in courage… Some may gripe that he should have provided his endorsement earlier in the race, but such people clearly have short memories and fail to recall that that his premature support was perhaps the proverbial “kiss of death” for the Dean campaign in 2004, marking the beginning of the end that the defeat in Iowa a few weeks later only served to place an exclamation point on.

Nonsense with Nicholls

“What Jevons failed to take into account was that higher prices would inevitably lead the market to find alternatives to coal — ie oil.”

Possibly the dumbest post, ever.
Really, it staggers the mind that someone can actually be this catastrophically stupid and ill-informed.

First of all, the development of the commercial petroleum industry didn’t arise as an “alternative” to coal. Until the spread of the automobile in the early 20th century, the major uses of petroleum were as buggy-wheel grease and kerosene lamp fuel. But quite aside from that, and contrary to Nicholl’s ridiculous assertion, coal prices were actually falling during the period in question. For example, in 1830 anthracite coal sold for about $11 per ton. Ten years later, the price had dropped to $7 per ton and by 1860 anthracite sold for about $5.50 a ton. Improved mining methods and the emergence of coke as a major fuel source resulted in record amounts of coal being raised with production nearing 80 million tons by 1880. Even so, coal prices remained relatively low. To a large extent, it was cheap coal that that helped America’s rapidly industrializing economy.

The parallel between the present “oil crisis” (largely driven by wild commodity speculation and market uncertainty) and the peaking of British coal extraction imagined by Jevons is superficial and tenuous at best.

Update: Nicholls responds in the comments with a bit of snark, stating: “It’s Jevons who talked about rising coal prices, not me.” Oh, but sadly, he’s wrong yet again. Jevons contended that improving energy efficiency typically REDUCED energy costs and thereby increased rather than decreased energy use — something that’s essential to his “paradox” and key to understanding his speculative theories about the “peaking” of coal.

L’affaire Couillard: The gift that keeps on giving…

Quelques jours avant d’apparaître fièrement au bras de Maxime Bernier, qui allait prêter serment comme ministre des Affaires étrangères du Canada, Julie Couillard avait eu une bonne nouvelle du gouvernement Harper: sa mère venait d’obtenir une nomination du Conseil des ministres fédéral.

Groan. Will this dreadfully sordid thing never end?

Le côté délicat de cette nomination a échappé, a-t-on appris, au lieutenant québécois de Stephen Harper, le titulaire des Transports Lawrence Cannon, qui est responsable à ce titre des nominations politiques.

Quel surprise! Again.

David Frum: The Wrong Man

It’s always mystified me why anybody listens to this profoundly silly man who, like Bill Kristol, has been, and most probably always will be, wrong on just about everything. Here, for example, is some priceless idiocy from yesterdays TNR: “I have my own personal nomination for vice president for McCain. It’s Rudy Giuliani, precisely because he shares the vision of a practical, reforming, war-winning Republican Party that inspires John McCain, plus the stronger-than-usual grounds for hoping that he might be the rare candidate who can make a difference in an essential state — in this case, New Jersey.”

Um, Earth to David… Aside from the fact that he’s a nasty, mean-spirited loon with numerous positions (e.g., abortion, immigration, gay rights, etc.) that are completely intolerable to so-called “values voters” and hard line conservatives, there’s also the fact that he: used police & tax money to pamper his mistress; surrounded himself with corrupt and criminal friends (felons, molesters and embezzlers); married his cousin (and divorced her); had several extra-marital affairs; divorced his second wife (in a very ugly way); has alleged mob ties; was responsible for Bernie Kerik disgrace; was implicated in numerous scandals; and… well, you get the idea.

Update: Translating Frum Ferengi. Hilarious.

Medieval Lives: The Outlaw

In the lawless world of the Middle Ages, a poor man’s only hope for justice lay with those bold man living lives of freedom in the forest: the legendary outlaws of Medieval England. Heroes who bestrewed the greenwood, fearlessly wearing only tights and little short tunics that hardly covered their bottoms.

The Medieval outlaw has come to represent freedom and justice for the common man. But were there really outlaws like Robin Hood in Medieval England? And if not, why do we think there were? And another thing: was the law so out of reach for ordinary people? And did the forest really represent freedom? And, of course, the key question: did the outlaws never wear trousers?


Dr. McVety

The benefits of having a high Google page ranking…

Meet the Natives (Ep.1 — Part 5)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Late Show: Get Smart

The King Lives — Season 3 • Episode 14 (1968)

Max temporarily takes over for a king that looks exactly like him in a parody of The Prisoner of Zenda.

Tewwible “Tories”


Unbelievable. Surely it must be hard work being that stupid.

Oily — We Hardly Knew Yee!



Update: You say goodbye, I say ‘Yoo hoo’: Was Oily the Splot meant to damage Dion, or just do damage control?

Harper’s “New” Politics

Same Old, Same Old

The federal Conservatives – elected on promises to be squeaky clean – are using government resources to help fill their election war chest.

Getting a bit tired, isn’t it?

New AP Rules: Bad News for Bloggers?


Well some bloggers, anyway; specifically, those prone to lazily cutting and pasting text from news stories at great length, or even reproducing whole articles.

The news agency Associated Press has sparked a furious debate over the fair use of material by bloggers after its lawyers issued a takedown notice last week to a small, independent news site that it claims had quoted too heavily from its news stories. AP said six instances of copyright violation had taken place involving seven items that contained quotations from AP articles ranging from 39 to 79 words. Yikes!

While this may not be an altogether bad thing in some respects, it remains to be seen how restrictive or practicable the guidelines reportedly now being developed by the AP are. The push back has already started with indignant bloggers like Jeff Jarvis at Buzz Machine and Michael Arrington at TechCrunch leading the charge.

Dick On: Optimism

Dick Driben, independent Whig Party write-in candidate for president, is about optimism. And in this world, with an endless supply of doom and gloom politicians, we need the light of hope. Dick Driben embodies that light.

Medieval Lives: The Philosopher

Once upon a time, when all was shrouded in ignorance, there lived a philosopher. He sought the Philosopher’s Stone, that would transmute base metal into gold, and the Elixir of Life, that would bring eternal youth. “Philosopher” was the closest term the Middle Ages had to “scientist”, but of course we know that they weren’t real scientists, because they had no idea of scientific method. The Medieval world floundered in superstition and ignorance. The Church persecuted seekers after knowledge, medicine was more likely to kill you than cure, and people didn’t even know the shape of the world. But are we sure they were so very ignorant? Or is it us, who don’t know as much as we think we do, about them?

Meet the Natives (Ep.1 — Part 4)

Traditional rabbit hunting using ferrets and nets… If you don’t want to see a bunnies gets their necks broken or can’t stand the sight of a rabbit being skinned, don’t watch.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Late Show: Twilight Zone

To Serve Man: Season 3 • Episode 89

Respectfully submitted for your perusal: a Kanamit. Height: a little over nine feet. Weight: in the neighborhood of three hundred and fifty pounds. Origin: unknown. Motives: Therein hangs the tale, for in just a moment we’re going to ask you to shake hands, figuratively, with a Christopher Columbus from another galaxy and another time. This is the Twilight Zone.

Based on a short story of the same name by Damon Knight. The title is a play on the word serve having the dual meanings “assist” and “provide as a meal.”

Bonus Feature: Hungry Are the Damned!

Stephen Taylor’s “Associates”…

Kooky Tales of Junker Sr.

Allow me to very quickly translate Junky Paul’s latest post for you based on the information that he’s linking to: Islam is a religion that condones the criminal extortion of property from the elderly, kidnapping, the burning of bodies, forced starvation to death, and execution style killing of non-believers.

Why does Junky Paul assert something so vile and outrageous, you ask? Apparently, because a scurrilous anti-Turkey and anti-Muslim letter that was anonymously e-mailed to many so-called “counter-jihad” blogs on the web claims that the targets of a recently uncovered criminal scheme in Istanbul “were always non-Muslims.” (No proof whatsoever of this is provided, however.)

And uh-oh! This claim doesn’t seem to be supported by any of the legitimate newspaper reports, although one does mention that three of the “many” victims involved were non-Muslim. Considering the total value of the properties extorted by the gang is reportedly $30 million, there must have been quite a considerable number of victims involved. Rather than being “infidels” it seems being old and lonely made them targets of the scheme — most probably their religion was quite irrelevant to the criminals involved.

As for the opinion that Junky Paul blithely repeats that “The precepts laid out in the Koran and the hadith were adhered to, and the victims were chosen carefully to avoid targeting the faithful”… well, aside from being unsupported by the facts, it turns out to be that of an admitted racist and neo-Nazi apologist — the self-styled “Baron” Bodissey at the nutty Gates of Vienna website.

I wonder if Stephen Taylor is proud of the fact that his “Blogging Tories” has become home to so many hysterical racists, neo-Nazi “spooks” and fanatical anti-Muslim bigots that gleefully leverage traffic from his aggregator to pedal such malicious lies and fabrications to the wider public. Maybe he doesn’t care, but it certainly doesn’t shine much of a favorable light on the “Conservative” Party of Canada whom these people ostensibly support.

Orwell Rolls in His Grave

All over Oceania this morning there were irrepressible spontaneous demonstrations when workers marched out of factories and offices and paraded through the streets with banners voicing their gratitude to Big Brother for the new, happy life which his wise leadership has bestowed upon us.

For the moment [Winston] had shut his ears to the remoter noises and was listening to the stuff that streamed out of the telescreen. It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grams a week. And only yesterday, he reflected, it had been announced that the ration was to be reduced to twenty grams a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours? Yes, they swallowed it… with the stupidity of an animal. — George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

From Rotten Tomatoes:

Director Robert Kane Pappas’ documentary film is the consummate critical examination of the Fourth Estate, once the bastion of American democracy. Asking whether America has entered an Orwellian world of doublespeak where outright lies can pass for the truth, Pappas explores what the media doesn’t like to talk about: itself.

Meticulously tracing the process by which media has distorted and often dismissed actual news events, Pappas presents a riveting and eloquent mix of media professionals and leading intellectual voices on the media.

New York University media professor Mark Crispin Miller says, “These commercial entities now vie with the government for control over our lives. They are not a healthy counterweight to government. Goebbels said that what you want in a media system – he meant the Nazi media system – is to present the ostensible diversity that conceals an actual uniformity.”

From the very size of the media monopolies and how they got that way to who decides what gets on the air and what doesn’t, Orwell Rolls in His Grave moves through a troubling list of questions and news stories that go unanswered and unreported in the mainstream media. Are Americans being given the information a democracy needs to survive or have they been electronically lobotomized? Has the frenzy for media consolidation led to a dangerous irony where in an era of more news sources the majority of the population has actually become less informed?

Update: I swapped the video. This one has a much better quality picture and French subtitles.

The American Dream in Reverse?

Are we living in a second gilded age?

“We’ve been living the American dream in reverse... Adjusting for inflation, average wages are lower than they were in the 1970s. Our minimum wage, adjusting for inflation, is lower than it was in the 1950s. One of the things going on is that income and wealth inequality have gone back to the 1920s. We are back at levels that we saw right before the Great Depression.” — Holly Sklar

From Friday’s Bill Moyers Journal, Holly Sklar, co-author of Raise the Floor: Wages and Policies That Work for All of Us discusses what current economic conditions say about the state of the American dream.

Unfortunately, under previous Liberal governments and even more so now under Stephen Harper’s so-called “Conservative” regime, we seem destined to head down the same path in lockstep with our American friends.

Related: Letters to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) from working families across Vermont when he asked people to tell him what was going on in their lives economically.

MPFC: Working-Class Playwright

Happy Father’s Day to all those fellow “bad dads” out there.

McCain v. McCain

The Jed Report offers up one of the more effective juxtapositions of McCain contradicting himself on his support and/or non-support of George W. Bush.

Increasingly, it seems to depend on the day, time and location of when and to whom McCain is speaking whether he’s been a loyal supporter of Bush’s most salient (“transcendent”) policies, or instead, has been a renegade “maverick” bucking the administration on key issues. It’s a bit of a no-win situation for him — on the one hand he needs to court the pro-Bush “conservative” base of the GOP by demonstrating his past allegiance, while at the same time distancing himself sufficiently to attract independents and Republicans disaffected by the current regime. It’s doubtful whether McCain is acrobatically supple enough to achieve that political balancing act over time.

Paging “Dr.” McVety…

CSCU Irvine

Is it possible that the would-be spiritual advisor to Stephen Harper and the “Conservative” Party of Canada, the self-appointed moral crusader for “Judeo-Christian family values” in this country and, as some have described him, “one of the most powerful leaders of the Christian Right,” is nothing more than a big, fat phony?

Well, in some respects, he most certainly is, but I’m not referring to his nutty and thoroughly dishonest efforts to promote Creationism in public schools by utterly misrepresenting evolutionary science as being an embodiment of the “last vestiges of the horrible scourge of racism”… No, I’m talking about something more questionable that seems to have been hiding in plain sight for many years — his credentials.

Thanks to the intrepid efforts of a number of bloggers, it would appear that “Doctor” McVety’s degree from the highly dubious California State Christian University (CSCU) may be nothing more than a “cheap Korean knock off.” Pictured above, by the way, is the university campus as shown on the contact page of the CSCU’s amateurish website and next to it, the satellite version of the same location. Clearly, there’s no “campus” in the considerable area highlighted (which is just north of the Orange County airport) and street views appear to confirm its absence, unless it’s disguised as a series of commercial warehouses and nondescript suburban office buildings.

Bill Kinnon at Achievable Ends seems to have quite conclusively demonstrated that the CSCU isn’t actually an accredited Christian University or Seminary. No point in re-inventing a well-crafted wheel, so I encourage you to read the whole thing — it’s quite amusing to say the least. ToujoursDan at Culture Choc likewise does some stellar investigative work chasing down the same rabbit holes in pursuit of “Dr.” McVety’s credentials, along the way calling into question his “honorary D.Litt degree” from the apparently non-existent Saint-Petersburg State University.

So, let me add my voice to what might eventually become a growing chorus of bloggers calling on the mainstream press to start doing some serious digging into the qualifications of this man who presumes to speak for the “moral majority” in this country and who is regularly cited in major newspapers and on television as an authoritative spokesman of the Christian Right. Is he a “Dr.” and, for that matter, is he even a “Reverend”? Answering these questions and putting our doubts to rest should be an easy matter if his credentials are authentic. If however they turn out not to be, then perhaps his veracity regarding other matters of public interest such as his high-profile fundraising and lobbying activities should also be subject to a little more curious scrutiny.

Medieval Lives: The Knight

Real medieval knights, shining or otherwise, had little interest in rescuing damsels in distress. Terry Jones reveals they were more interested in the less noble pursuits of killing people, making money and being famous.

Meet the Natives (Ep.1 — Part 3)

The lads from Tanna are introduced to the concept of artificial insemination and find this method of pig farming “very strange” and while they recognize it may be more profitable, it seemingly “goes against nature.” A life drawing class with a nude model and the neighborhood pub are also experienced.

Euro2008: Top Five Goals

Official Euro2008 website and complete event coverage from BBC and Sky.

Newsnight: Pluck of the Irish

This is like the dead parrot sketch in Monty Python. Is it dead or isn’t it? Is it sleeping? Is it dormant? It’s dead! — Gavin Esler

Excerpts from BBC’s Newsnight program showing the reaction to Ireland’s negative vote on the proposed Lisbon Treaty.

The Times hailed the Irish “no” vote on the Lisbon Treaty as a victory against “a process hitherto shrouded in jargon and pushed along by the civil servants who invented it.” It said the vote, that was more than 53% opposed, was in Ireland’s own interest, because approval would have meant a dilution of its influence under the proposed changes to majority voting in the enlarged bloc.