Sunday, August 30, 2009

Idling by-laws - an exercise in delusion, deceit and waste

Does your city have vehicle idling control by-laws? Many do, and if yours doesn’t now it may soon.

Either way, consider a recent Natural Resources Canada case study documenting the City of London, Ontario’s efforts towards passing its anti-idling by-law. The NRCan study is an earnest effort undertaken, in part, it says: "to share the City's experience with other communities that are considering implementing a similar by-law."

That sounds admirable. But a close reading of the case study leaves one feeling not admiration but, rather, disturbed. For all its righteous intentions (paved roads to Hell, etc) the City of London appears to have conducted an exercise based on green zeal that amounts to delusion, deceit and waste. If it isn’t fraud it comes perilously close.

In the NRCan study it is freely admitted that there was no evidence to support an idling control by-law but that there was evidence suggesting that such a by-law may actually do harm:

... an engineer with the City's Environmental Services Division raised concerns over vehicle "cold starts." He cited a scientific journal ... experts have argued that the first few minutes after starting a vehicle accounts for 80 percent of pollution from cars that are equipped with converters.

... The engineer was concerned that increasing the number of times that a car is turned on and off may actually increase the amount of emitted ozone precursors. He suggested that the City focus instead on other initiatives to improve air quality.

... [and, moreover] key problems originated outside the region (i.e., air contaminants from the Ohio Valley).

Among a list of "key facilitators" that had helped get the by-law passed was this gem:

"Credibility: Having a by-law gives the issue of excessive vehicle idling more credibility." [The existence of an idling by-law justifies the idling by-law. Brilliant!]

A list of "lessons learned" by the City included these mind-boggling "lessons":

- Develop a strategy for measuring the impact of the by-law. Even if empirical evidence is not available, develop indicators of success. As one Londoner stated, "Be ready for this question, as it will come up."

Emphasize the indirect benefits of an idling by-law. [BECAUSE!?] ... The direct impact of an idling by-law on overall air quality is not likely to be significant. [Wow! Just wow!]

Then, under cover of a scare generated by Health bureaucrats and the media:

... the weather put the idling by-law back in the forefront. During the spring and summer of 1999 there were three air-quality alerts .... the Health Unit ... again recommended that the by-law be passed. The Health Unit also indicated that it would be willing to enforce the by-law. ... It became law in November 1999 ...
And, the waste. The communications (propaganda) campaign to sell the by-law and "educate" the citizenry was funded out of healthcare resources and included:

... thirty second radio spots; ... communications with municipal staff; ... "no idling" signs; ... posters and literature to be distributed to key organizations, such as day-care centres; ... billboards. [Start the brainwashing early!]

Incredible! And it’s all seen as a good thing by our federal Natural Resources ministry as a way to make "... progress on the larger issue of environmental protection ...".
[Hmmm .. "progress on the larger issue" of what - selling more bogus environmentalism, perhaps? It seems to me that deceitfully justifying, passing, and enforcing dubious by-laws can only damage the credibility of legitimate environmental protection measures. Where are NRCan’s ethics?]

This whole sorry episode (and more) was expertly, comprehensively and entertainingly (un)covered by Robert Metz on his radio program Just Right* which aired on University of Western Ontario radio (CHRW) July 2, 2009. It can be heard in full here -> (wma audio file) - it's well worth listening to.

Credit for exposing the NRCan case study belongs to Robert Metz and Just Right* Media.

[*Note: This blog has no affiliation with the CHRW Just Right radio program, except in spirit.]

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rightwing radio roundup

Kathy Shaidle has it all - Beck, Rush, Palin, Hannity, Miller, Malloy, Shatner(?). Yee Haw!

Doubting Al Gore

Peter Foster makes it clear why being a climate heretic is so difficult:

Dealing with acolytes of the Al Gore school of climate change (that is, virtually every government on earth, plus the chattering classes of the entire Western World). ...

... Not merely do mouths gape, but eyes roll at any dimwit's failure to grasp that there is "consensus" on the issue. Indeed, to dissent is seen not merely as evidence of mental deficiency but moral turpitude.

[...]

Anyone can join a mob. However, publicly bucking near universal orthodoxy and facing the disapproval and ridicule of brainwashed friends, enemies and peers takes great courage and integrity.

Peter Foster, and all the stalwarts at FP Comment, one of the few mainstream outlets to consistently voice climate dissent, deserve our thanks, support and admiration.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Quotable quotes

John Hawkins' picks of best quotes for 2008 from:
Anne Coulter

Mark Steyn

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A bad experience at the TGH

Blazing Cat Fur documents his mother’s recent exposure to the Canadian medical "system". Not a happy camper, BCF left the hospital a note with his impressions:

Early, very early in the AM I stumbled upon the ER's "Continuous Improvement Whiteboard".

I wrote: Continuous Improvement? This is a cruel joke. The "level of care" at this facility disgraces the word hospital.

And cardiac care is thought to be one of the things Canadian hospitals do best! My own experience was better than BCF’s - the doctors and nurses were very good, but the facilities were a combination of crowded, decrepit and dirty.

The debate is raging in the USA over Obamacare. Our American friends will be wise to avoid letting government monopolize their medical system.

Anyway, here's wishing BCF’s mom a speedy recovery.

Edward Kennedy and Robert Novak

A conservative journalist comments:

Ted Kennedy and I didn't occupy much political space in common, but I always admired his ability to build coalitions for the things he believed in, assemble a first-rate staff and bravely represent a coherent point of view. He was also a man who would answer your questions forthrightly and then invite you to have a drink.

In his last months, he and his wife Vicky also found time to come to the aid of a fellow cancer sufferer — my old boss and friend Bob Novak. He died only a week ago from the same type of brain tumor that felled Senator Kennedy. When the conservative columnist was diagnosed last year, Vicki Kennedy reached out to Novak with the lessons they'd learned about treatment. "He and his wife have treated me like a close friend . . . and urged me to opt for surgery at Duke University, which I did," Novak wrote in one of his last published columns. "The Kennedys were not concerned by political and ideological differences when someone's life was at stake, recalling at least the myth of milder days in Washington."

The loss of two great men I knew to the same disease in the space of a single week certainly fills me with a greater appreciation for the brief time all of us have on this earth.

Contrast with the virulent hatred expressed by the left for Novak on his death.

Goldberg on liberals on Kennedy.

Author Sebastian Faulks - “Dhimmi of the Year”?

Mark Steyn is disappointed in his old friend, author Sebastian Faulks, who on Sunday let loose a blistering criticism of the Koran and only three days later issued a fawning apology.

As one commenter proposes, a "Dhimmi of the Year" (possibly the decade) award for Faulks may be in order. Though one can’t help wondering if someone made Mr. Faulks an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Climate bullcrap in the BC Throne Speech

Along with a giant dose of baloney attempting to rationalize the Campbell government’s outrageous arrogance in shoving the HST down our throats, we get this kind of random nonsense in today’s Throne Speech:

The record forest fire season reminds us once again that in spite of the denials, climate change is real and costly.
What unmitigated hooey! Local weather and a single forest fire season say absolutely nothing about climate. Besides, haven’t the boneheads been following the unusually cold summer weather to the east of BC.

The upside to seeing this kind of junk in a Throne Speech is that it highlights the Campbell government’s climate gullibility and reminds us of its similarly arrogant, out-of-the-blue imposition of North America’s first carbon tax.

The BC Liberals are doomed come next election which, sadly, is four years away.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lefties call Obama a "charming liar"

Glenn Beck notes that "progressives" at Air America radio are upset with Obama's lies about dealing with BigPharma:

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

Woman suing Canada for $2.5 million

Big surprise! Suaad Hagi Mohamud, stranded in Kenya because of questions about her Canadian identity, is suing:

‘I don't care about money,' ‘I'm only (going) to court so this never happens to another Canadian citizen.'
Uh huh.

CTV poll

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hypocritical, anti-materialist drivel sells

Peter Foster’s pick of popular junk reading:

... my all-time stinker in terms of tomes whose sales were inverse to their quality, and which thus tell us something depressing about human nature, I would have to pick Mitch Albom’s "Tuesdays with Morrie".

... on The New York Times bestseller list for almost five years ...

... if Morrie’s philosophy is so refined, so against the crass conventional wisdom, so at odds with American culture and society, why did more than five million people buy the book? Because, it seems, anti-materialist hypocrisy, like junk economics and junk science, sells.

Read the whole thing.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Organic food fad?

Based on the quantities of "organic" grocery products available and the space and time devoted to the subject in the media, you get the impression that "going organic" is a hot fad. But if this CTV news poll is at all accurate it's an encouraging sign there isn't much of a fad - large numbers of people aren't buying into the organic hooey:







The "Occasionally" group no doubt also includes a lot of people who aren't buying the "organic" label but simply the (rarely) cheaper, better or only available product.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Yale's cartoon cowardice

Yale University Press decided, on the unanimous advice of a couple of dozen anonymous experts, that it was too risky to publish Jytte Klausen's scholarly new book about the Danish cartoons unless the cartoons were removed.

Roger Kimball covers the whole sordid story including an exchange with author Klausen in the comments.

Who needs "human rights" commissions to censor infidels when publishers so readily do it to themselves? Kimball aptly names it "pre-emptive capitulation":
The really appalling thing is that institutions like Yale — institutions, I mean, that exist to pursue the truth — should tacitly endorse this ethic of pre-emptive capitulation. By embracing this species of mendacious political correctness they forfeit the prerogatives of truth for the dubious satisfactions of multicultural self-righteousness.
Mark Steyn on The Hugh Hewitt Show & Ezra Levant.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

HST a tax on savings

From an article by CI Financial:
... A harmonized sales tax (HST) would result in additional taxes being applied to investment management services, including mutual funds, segregated funds and other managed investment accounts, which are part of many registered savings plans, registered income funds and locked-in retirement accounts.

... While ... manufacturers would likely benefit the most from an HST by claiming credits for taxes paid on the inputs used to make their products, there is no similar offset for investment managers. For investors, it would be a tax grab, pure and simple.
A warning to government:
Should the HST be implemented ... financial services firms will be obligated to investigate ways to reduce the impact on their clients. One option would be to move parts of our operation to a province without an HST, such as Alberta. [And don’t think individuals won't also have an incentive to move.]
Taxes, taxes, taxes. We’re taxed on income. When we spend what’s left we’re taxed again. When we try to save it we’re also taxed. Time for a tax revolt.

HST - BC voters are mightily pissed

Two local polls:
.




Saturday, August 8, 2009

HST - how can you tell when politicians are lying?

Easy - when their lips are moving and/or their keyboards are clacking.

Yesterday BC FinMin Colin Hansen posted this incredible excuse on Facebook for why the Liberals said one thing during the election "and something else now":

... the party was asked about the HST. The answer was that the party's platform, while aware of the benefits the HST offered, did not contemplate the adoption of the HST in BC.That was an honest statement and, while I did not write it, I will defend the fact that it was totally accurate.After the election, I was able to "re-engage" with Finance Ministry staff. At that time, it became obvious that some key issues had changed dramatically (including, in this context, the HST world).

... What changed everything for us was the announcement by Ontario that they would sign on to the HST system effective July 1, 2010.

The Ontario decision to go to the HST was announced as part of the Ontario budget on March 26th. So why did the BC government not pick up on it until late May as Hansen says?

"On March 26, when the Ontario budget came down, to be honest I didn't pay a lot of attention to it." [For two months through the May 12th election and beyond!?]
That’s hardly believable but if true it reflects extremely poorly on his abilities. But whatever the truth of that statement, surely Hansen’s staff fully understood the implications - and surely they briefed him. The Feds have been pushing the HST since Chr├ętien said he’s kill the GST. So the BC government has known for decades all of the implications of HST and would have known almost instantly what it meant for BC if Ontario were to adopt the tax.

He also claims he didn’t know the rules have changed allowing BC flexibility to set a 12% tax rate instead of 13% as for the Atlantic provinces. Also not believable.

From the story in today’s Victoria Times Colonist:

NDP finance critic Bruce Ralston said Hansen's claim that he missed Ontario's switch to HST defies belief. More likely, Ralston said, Hansen has fabricated the story to cover up the fact that the Liberals hid their tax plans during the election campaign. "It's pathetic that he's trying to resort to this tortured explanation when it's just clearly not true," Ralston said.

He said that Hansen would have been briefed on the Ontario budget and his office would have been anticipating the HST announcement for months.

As early as January, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty told Canadian Press the province would take a "long, hard look" at adopting the HST.

Later that same month, federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty indicated the federal government was willing to show more flexibility in its HST negotiations with the provinces.

"The reality is they knew about it before the election," Ralston said. "They had a serious discussion about it, they planned to implement it, but they didn't want to talk about it in the election campaign, because they knew it would damage their election chances."

As today’s TC editorial sums it up: 

... It defies belief to believe the tax went from nowhere to announcement in less than 10 weeks.

... Campbell promised years ago that he would run an open, honest government. The HST is just the latest announcement to make a mockery of that promise.

The political choices in BC are abysmal: Lieberal, NDP, Green and Marijuana. That last one is looking better all the time.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Obama enemies lists and thuggery

Obama will brook no opposition to his medicare legislation. Informants are encouraged to identify critics and snitch directly to the Whitehouse:

... On Monday, White House director of new media Macon Phillips posted a note on the White House web site complaining of "disinformation about health insurance reform." "These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation," Phillips wrote. "Since we can't keep track of all of them here at the White House, we're asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov."
Hugh Hewitt comments:

... Appealing as the president did via the White House web for snitches to turn in "fishy" citizens smacks of the lowest sort of thuggish politics. It took Chuck Colson a couple of years and the repeated leaks of national security information and massive protests of the Vietnam era to get the Watergate-era Plumbers up and running. A mere six months into his unsteady start, the new president is reaching for the political blackjacks.
Meanwhile Democratic union thugs beat up a protester at a townhall meeting.

All of which inspired this great video:

Thursday, August 6, 2009

HST tax grab - how we’re being screwed

One thing the BC HST pronouncement is doing is shedding some light on how we’re being screwed under the current system. A major benefit of HST touted by BCFinMin Colin Hansen is that sales tax on business inputs would be eliminated and only the HST would be collected.

Double taxing plus tax on tax. How many people knew that businesses paid sales tax at the wholesale level. GST is not charged and I’d bet most people thought that PST was a retail value added tax. So what the government is now admitting is that they have been double taxing products all along. The weasels are collecting sales tax from retailers on their wholesale purchases, then collecting sales tax again on the higher retail price of the products. And, worse, consumers are paying tax on business input taxes.

So the government thinks we should be grateful that they're implementing the HST on the grounds that they’ll stop screwing us through double taxation and tax on tax. Grateful my ass! They shouldn’t have been screwing us (and making business uncompetitive) to begin with. They were counseled not to, by Preston Manning, for one:
"The five provinces that still apply sales tax to business inputs, namely British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island, should immediately end this practice. ..."
Anyway, how will the BC tax-grabbers now make up for lost business input tax revenue? Obviously by taxing everything that wasn’t previously taxed. Some businesses will be more competitive under the new HST regime but consumers, that’s EVERYBODY, will really be screwed and then some.

Stop the HST! And stop double taxation and tax on tax!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Jokers: Double standards




On seeing this depiction of Obama , an LA Daily writer snaps out the race card: "The only thing missing is the noose." (Check out the comments).

















While this Vanity Fair rendition of George W. Bush is apparently considered "high art".

More on libs' short memories.




[via]



Anyway, my favourite Joker is still this guy.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Cosmic rays and climate - update on CERN's CLOUD experiment

Last May the CLOUD experiment team at CERN took delivery of the project's cloud chamber.

To recap: AGW proponents deny that solar variation plays any significant role in climate change. Deniers! However:

"I think the evidence for a link between reconstructions of past climate change and solar activity is too strong to ignore," explains Jasper Kirkby, Spokesperson for the CLOUD experiment. "There are a lot of observations showing that variations of the sun seem to be affecting the climate, but we don’t yet know what the mechanism for this is."

"The aim of CLOUD is to understand whether or not cosmic rays can affect clouds and climate, by studying the microphysical interactions of cosmic rays with aerosols, cloud droplets and ice particles." This is one of the possible mechanisms for solar-climate variability since the solar wind – the stream of charged particles ejected from the sun – varies over time and affects the intensity of the cosmic rays that reach the Earth.


... This is the first time a particle accelerator has been used to study atmospheric and climate science and CLOUD therefore lies at an intersection between several different disciplines.

Also note this from Kirby:
"... Particle physicists are always happier to look at the simplest, most fundamental systems, whereas most atmospheric and climate physicists approach from one of the most complex systems possible – namely the atmosphere and climate."

Data collection will begin later in 2009.

Now this is science. None of that "the debate is over", "the science is settled" BS.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

DeSmogBlog’s PR flacks and propagandists

Though I’d heard the name before, Anthony Watts drew my attention to DeSmogBlog in a post about a mini-kerfuffle over copyright infringement. Apparently DeSmog’s Kevin Grandia, rather oddly and embarrassingly, attempted to inject himself into the issue - presumably for purposes of self-promotion.

Anyway, Anthony piqued my interest in DeSmog. Who are these people?

From DeSmogBlog’s ‘About’ page we learn that it’s founders and contributors are Canadian PR professionals with law and/or writers’ credentials:

The DeSmogBlog team is led by Jim Hoggan, founder of James Hoggan & Associates, one of Canada's leading public relations firms. By training a lawyer ... a Board Member of the David Suzuki Foundation.

... benefactor John Lefebvre, a lawyer, internet entrepreneur and past-president of NETeller

... Editorial Assistance on the blog is provided by renowned author Ross Gelbspan

...Richard Littlemore, an award-winning science and magazine writer, a speechwriter and a senior counsellor at Hoggan.

...Kevin Grandia oversees the project as a whole and manages the social media and online marketing components.

Their mission is to "desmog" what they claim are deliberate attempts by unscrupulous people to "intentionally subvert the public awareness" about man-made global warming. This, in a way, explains some of their zeal. DeSmog is a bunch of PR flacks fighting what they see is a righteous propaganda war against an evil AGW ‘denialist’ PR machine:

... Although all public relations professionals are bound by a duty to not knowingly mislead the public. [Maybe, but in practice they know the opposite is closer to the truth.]

... some have executed comprehensive campaigns of misinformation on behalf of industry clients ... Lately, these fringe players have turned their efforts to creating confusion about climate change.

And, moreover, they see vast conspiracies at work.

This PR campaign could not be accomplished without the compliance of media as well as the assent and participation of leaders in government and business.
[Uh huh, even though nearly every media outlet and government on the planet,
(not to mention many an oil company), has lined up four-square behind the
campaign with billions upon billions of dollars to "fight climate change."]

The ‘DeSmoggers’ apparently are convinced that these climate change obfuscators are so evil, that even knowing full-well that man-made CO2 will surely destroy the planet and kill millions of people including their own children and grandchildren, they will do everything in their power to ensure that mankind keeps on pumping more of the deadly gas into the atmosphere. That’s really some claim when you think about it.

Whatever, the intrepid propaganda super-hero DeSmoggers have joined the evil enemy in battle. Anything and everything that might possibly contradict the official UNIPCC (or worse, James Hansen’s) global warming orthodoxy must be stopped. Any and all skeptical views are part of an evil plot hatched by the oil industry and fronted by its paid agents at the Heartland Institute. For example:

Richard Littlemore reviewing Lawrence Solomon’s "The Deniers": It's harder still to think that [Solomon] could then continue to pursue his desperate argument that a legitimate debate still exists about the central question of anthropogenic global warming. [What’s really hard to imagine is how Littlemore, after reading "The Deniers", could still insist that a legitimate debate does not exist. His is a severe case of denialism.]

Conclusion? DeSmogBlog must be in the pay of big-enviro.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

More climate non-consensus

Via Anthony Watts - American Chemical Society scientists revolt against their journal’s editor in chief:

... The editorial claimed the "consensus" view was growing "increasingly difficult to challenge, despite the efforts of diehard climate-change deniers." The editor now admits he is "startled" by the negative reaction from the group’s scientific members. The American Chemical Society bills itself as the "world’s largest scientific society."

The June 22, 2009 editorial in Chemical and Engineering News by editor in chief Rudy Baum, is facing widespread blowback and condemnation from American Chemical Society member scientists. Baum concluded his editorial by stating that "deniers" are attempting to "derail meaningful efforts to respond to global climate change." ...

Originally reported at Climate Depot.