New Dark Age On Its Way

Wow. Once you scratch the surface of the anti-science faction, you discover it’s crackpots all the way down….

Found out via Pharyngula that the geocentrists are having a conference on November 6. Really? Geocentrism is back in fashion? I thought it was deader than Tycho Brahe’s nose. Hell, my spell check doesn’t even recognize the word.

The talks have names like, “Scientific Evidence: Earth in the Centre of the Universe,” “Galileo and the Church: What Really Happened” and “Geocentrism: They Know It But They’re Hiding It.” Sound familiar at all?

Honestly, I don’t know how scientists can get any work done when they’re hatching so many conspiracies.

How the New York State Lottery Commemorates 9/11

Good grief. (The Rude Pundit). And people complain about a mosque? from the story:

Yesterday, the Rude Pundit was walking down near Ground Zero, New York City, as one must sometimes do in the course of day-to-day activities, when heard someone over a megaphone say, “Never forget. Never forget,” repeatedly, flatly, almost mournfully. This was on the corner of Broadway and Fulton, across the street from St. Paul’s Chapel, one block from the former World Trade Center twin towers. He turned to see what this was, thinking perhaps another protest.

Instead, he saw four figures. Two men, one with a voice that sounded like a megaphone and a sign that read, “Support Our Heroes,” the other with an American flag. And two people wearing what seemed to be brightly smiling ping-pong ball outfits. And, oh, dear, kind readers, the Rude Pundit is not lying to you when he says that one of the ping-pong balls had a “9” emblazoned on it and the other had an “11.” They also wore caps.

Here’s the video … (YouTube) Annnd the video’s been pulled.

That’s Prairie Dog, D-O-G

So I was just trying to book a phone interview with someone who will remain nameless and was speaking to said, unnamed person’s assistant. Once we had all the details sorted and set a time, assistant person says to me:

“And you said you were with Prairie Duck?”

“No,” I said. “Dog. Prairie Dog.”

“Oh, I thought maybe you were a new magazine.”


Rosie’s Top Six At Six

LASER TAG AN OLYMPIC SPORT, KINDA During the next modern pentathlon competition in the Olympics – London 2012 – competitors get to use laser pistols, only if they promise to keep their phasers on stun. (Deadspin) While Trekkers prepare,

a nearly-forgotten Toronto prog-rock band approves.

THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING (PART 1) When I did a prairie dog story about the federal government’s purchase of the F-35 jet fighter, (prairie dog) I said the jet was most notable for what it can’t do – that is, defend North American air space from a bomber attack. The Mound of Sound describes why the F-35 is useless against what would be the biggest threat in a Third World War – a mass cruise missile attack. (The Disaffected Liberal)

THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING (PART 2) The Russians are such threats to Canadian sovereignty that … wait a minute … a joint exercise between Canadian, American and Russian militaries in the Canadian Arctic? This wouldn’t happen if Stephen Harper was prime minister (Creekside).

ROD PEDERSEN FINALLY GETS LUCKY One of the biggest problems with conducting public demonstrations, such as what PETA did in downtown Regina yesterday, is that the medium they choose for their message – in this case, women and public nudity – often overshadows their message. (Rod Pedersen)

BEN MULRONEY EMABLES TERRORISM One of three men arrested in Ottawa on terrorism charges was a Canadian Idol contestant. (Toronto Star)

WINNIPEG MAYOR’S GERMAN INVASION? Taking a soccer ball to the head is funny in any language.

Spying On The Spymaster

There are only three ways to look at CSIS director Richard Fadden’s statements:

1. He has blown the cover off active investigations conducted by agents in the field. In that case, he must be fired for misconduct.

2. He’s undertaken a rogue investigation that is to smear potential opponents, in provincial political parties, to the Harper regime. In that case, he must be fired for allowing the national security agency to become the research wing of the Conservative Party of Canada.

3. He’s a real-life General Ripper.

All You Need To Know About What Passes For Thought In America’s Conservative Movement …

A Missouri farmer who has accepted more than $1 million in farm subsidies from the United States government since 1995 is organizing a campaign against government spending on what he calls ‘handouts.’ (The Independent).

Pro Soccer In Regina? FC The-City-That-Rhymes-With-Fun?

The 24th Minute (extra points if you can tell me how it got its name) is one of the three authoritative blogs on Canadian soccer. It reported on meetings concerning the North American Soccer League (which is to Major League Soccer what the AHL is to the NHL), where possible expansion franchises were discussed.

One, Neil Malhotra and his Ottawa group, has been known for some time. The other, a group from Regina (yes, Saskatchewan) was a bit surprising.

The Saskatchewan group is looking to include a NASL team with its plans to build a stadium for the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders. For those that don’t know, the Riders are a big deal in Saskatchewan. Like, a really big deal. So, there is a good chance that a stadium plan there might have legs.

Well, the downtown domed stadium project requires more events than Roughrider games in order to pay its way. A pro soccer team would mean an extra 15 or so dates a year: however it’s a good question as to whether there’s enough support in Saskatchewan to support a soccer team. That said, I’d buy season tickets for this. In a heartbeat.

Here’s the NASL home page. Apparently there’s going to be a team in Edmonton next year.

Wonder what Rod Pedersen and Mitchell Blair think of this. Who’s the money behind this? The provincial soccer association? Planet Roughrider?

TDOC: Containing A Greece Fire

The Death of CapitalismA few trillion here and a trillion there and the next thing you know it adds up to real money.

The Death of Capitalism apologizes to the late Senator Everett Dirksen who it turns out may or may not have actually said those words that are so often attributed to him, but you have to wonder just what he’d have made of the super-sized public bailouts of today.

The latest instalment of course is a near-trillion dollar “backstop” fund announced by the Euro-zone countries in an attempt to deal with the fallout of the debt issues of Greece and the potential for a “contagion” that would sideswipe their unified currency and project for an economically and politically united Europe.

Amid all the hyperbole about those shiftless Hellenic socialists and their gold-plated social programs that led the country to the brink of bankruptcy, however, I think it’s important to note that this whole episode is fundamentally a failure of capitalism, not “socialism”… whatever that means these days.

To understand this we have to take a quick back-of-the-envelope look at what actually happened. Which appears to be that the main centre-right party colluded with the largest investment bank in the world to pull an Enron and dump the country’s debts off the books using a bunch of fishy instruments that made it impossible to see what was actually going on with the country’s finances. That allowed Greece to qualify for membership in the European shared currency.

Make no mistake, like any trade agreement or currency union, it was definitely the country’s business and political class that was behind this move, not the average Greek citizen. Now taxpayers across the Eurozone find themselves on the hook to backstop these fishy business deals and it’s beginning to look a lot like austerity measures (and the accompanying street riots) are the order of business for the foreseeable future as – irony of ironies – Greece’s main left-of-centre party cleans up the mess. Can someone please explain to me again exactly why the right always gets to claim to be better at running an economy?

And you’d better believe this entire exercise is about bailing out a bunch of European bankers and their interconnected web of debt who made lousy business decisions without doing proper due diligence — though in fairness one of their own was gaming the books, making that a tall order.

But the crisis seems to be contained – for now. But given the success of central bankers and their ilk in the past when it comes to forecasting containment you can colour me skeptical. More likely they’ve just papered over the problem for a few more months, and by kicking the can a bit further down the road, thus making the problem even bigger when the day of reckoning finally comes. My gut instinct tells me that when it does, that 1000 point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average is going to look like a bit of light turbulence.

And finally… a brief explanation for my prolonged absence…

As I noted in one of my last posts, about two months ago, I managed to break an ankle that required some surgery. Well, my own natural clumsiness managed to compound an already bad situation.

About three or four days after my release I wound up falling off my crutches and severing the quad tendon from the kneecap on my other leg, thus rendering me a paperweight for much of the past two months — albeit a mouthy paperweight with no shortage of opinions.

I wound up going through another even more serious surgery and spending nearly a month incommunicado in hospital confined to either a bed or a wheelchair while things healed. I’m back home now, hobbling around on a walker, as things rehab, and I’m really looking forward to getting back to making regular contributions again.

Typo Wiener: How Not To Win

1.) Send your entry from a dumb e-mail address like pirate8234576@gmail. 2.) Do not sign your entry. Don’t put your name anywhere on it. 3.) Don’t write TYPO in the subject field as the rules clearly state.* 4.) Tell me my deliberate misspelling of “skillz” (as in, “she had mad skillz”) is a typo when it’s obviously not. (It’s affected and obnoxious, sure. But it’s not a typo.)

5.) Lay down some slick grammar like: “There is also three on page 13 one being on the write up for gunless”. 6.) Do not capitalize Gunless, the name of a movie, and leave the necessary hyphen out of “write-up”.

7.) Say our typos are caused by carelessness or “people just getting lazy” when YOU can’t be bothered to capitalize movie names and write functional sentences.

Congratulations! You just didn’t win the typo contest!

*This helps us find Wiener entries in crowded in-boxes. In case you’re wondering.

Sexual Predator Pardoned?!?!?

It’s come out today that notorious hockey molester Graham James was apparently pardoned in 2007. (Canadian Press/Globe and Mail)

Before you freak out and start screaming at the computer making the cat worry for your sanity, here is the important part for perspective:

A pardon does not erase a person’s criminal record, but it means the information is kept in a separate file and doesn’t show up on checks of the Canadian Police Information Centre, a key law-enforcement database used by the RCMP and other police forces.

In the case of someone convicted of serious sex offences, the criminal record is kept apart from others, but the name is flagged in the CPIC system. According to the parole board, that means details of the person’s conviction would be discovered by a check that takes place if they apply to work with children, the disabled or other vulnerable people.

So, it sounds like a pardon doesn’t mean the same thing in law that it does in English. Assuming James’ crimes are “serious sex offenses”, he’d still be thwarted from working with Canadian teens by a criminal record check. That should be enough to keep him away from kids and teens in this country. And that’s the most important thing.

Though it still makes the justice system sound awful.

As for James working with kids in other countries? Not having a pardon didn’t stop him coaching back in 2001. (CBC)