Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A way with words

Christie Blatchford, in Kandahar, writes a very moving tribute to a fallen soldier and his "brothers in arms".

Too bad Christie didn’t stay with the ‘Post’.

[via The Torch]

Monday, August 20, 2007

Gordon O’Connor’s remarkable legacy

If all you had to go on was opposition criticism and day-to-day MSM coverage of defence issues, you would probably conclude that Gordon O’Connor was pretty much a flop as Minister of Defence. But if you were to take a closer look at his list of accomplishments during a very short tenure you could come to a much different conclusion.

In today’s National Post, Douglas Bland, in his article "Gordon O’Connor: A distinguished defence minister", reviews the upside:

By any criteria that matters to Canada's national defence, Gordon O'Connor's brief time in office was an outstanding success. In less than two years, he reversed more than 10 years of Liberal neglect of the defence policy and the Canadian Forces.

He wrote the ... defence platform ... guided it through a defence establishment that at times fought vigorously against it. He wrestled a commitment of $20-billion for new military equipment to rebuild the Canadian Forces from Cabinet and a reluctant Finance Department bureaucracy.

On Aug 10th the first of four new Canadian CC177 heavy-lift aircraft landed in Canada ... It would have been noteworthy if Mr. O'Connor had only forced the notoriously dysfunctional defence procurement system to consider buying such major new equipment. The fact that he has the aircraft ready to fly operational missions in a mere 18 months is remarkable.

New artillery weapons, drones and armoured vehicles are today in the field protecting Canadian soldiers.

Medium lift aircraft and helicopters are about to be ordered.

Most astonishing of all, a new fleet of the most modern tanks are on the way to Canada, a country usually allergic to the very idea of owning such a "war-like" capability.

Damian Brooks over at ‘The Torch’, offered a more mixed review, pointing to Mr. O’Connor’s poor performance in handling the external politics, the media and the message to the public.

Granted, the government’s communications strategy on Afghanistan often seemed somewhere between non-existent and seriously flawed. But in my opinion, that can’t be blamed entirely on O’Connor. Everyone, including the PM, the PMO, the ministries of external affairs and international development, among others, had a role to play in that failure.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The mentality of the left

The crack young staff at THMQ, using Hugo Chavez as an illustration, examines the totalitarianism, hypocrisy and contradictions of the American ‘Hard Left’.

It’s also a decent estimate of what’s likely going on between-the-ears of the ‘rabbleafficionados rabble.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Canuckistan’s ‘world-class’ medicine

While this widely covered story had a happy outcome for a Calgary family, what struck me was:

A rare set of identical quadruplets were born this week to a Calgary woman after she was sent to give birth in Montana because of a shortage of neonatal beds in Canada.

The naturally conceived baby girls ... were born Sunday in Great Falls, Mont., to Calgarians Karen and J.P. Jepp.

"There wasn't space anywhere in Canada, so we had to turn to our friends in Montana," [a spokeman] said.

Jepp was transfered by air to Montana on Friday - the fifth Alberta woman to be transfered to Great Falls this year because of neonatal shortages in Calgary.

That’s quite astounding. The medical system of an entire, supposedly ‘advanced’, industrial nation with a population of 33 million can’t come up with the spare capacity to accommodate one additional unusual birth. So an expectant mother has to be sent to a podunk American city of 57,000 in a small state of fewer than a million people.

It’s not as if this situation arose out of the blue - that quads were on the way was known for months. And this is the fifth time this year that Alberta has done this. I also know that BC regularly sends cases south and it follows that every other province does the same.

"World-class'? Make that 'third-world'.

Update: Mark Steyn weighs in on this at The Corner. And again here.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Scrap CIDA

Peter Foster, in today’s ‘Post’, gives a number of excellent reasons for killing the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). In my estimation the most compelling of these is - and I didn’t know this till now - "CIDA was created in the late 1960s by Maurice Strong". Anything that Maurice Strong is involved in has to be deeply suspect. In Peter Fosters words:

[Strong] the self confessed socialist master-manipulator behind ...Kyoto, sustainable development and global governance.

...deliberately installed a vague agenda and loose controls over CIDA

...agenda to promote activist, leftist NGOs in the development field

Mr. Foster’s latest exposé follows columns (here and here) detailing CIDA and NGO interference with various mining operations around the world. His column today calls for CIDA to be dumped:

CIDA should be a candidate for the scrap heap, not because it has been ineffective in promoting development, but because it has become a prime factor in stopping it.

The solution to poverty is trade, investment and the rule of law... NGO activists ... should have less influence inside the gates of Ottawa.

I think I’ll write to the Minister responsible for CIDA and urge her to give it the axe.


Letter to the editor from Kairos (CIDA funded NGO) chairman Father Paul Hansen protesting Peter Foster’s earlier column.

Also in today’s FP ‘Comment’ section along with Mr. Foster’s column is a letter from an Ecuadoran indigenous group to Mining Watch (funded in part by Kairos) protesting its anti-development activities which are helping to keep poor people in poverty.

Every tyrant has his buffoon

________der Fuhrer____________________Il Ducé_______

_____But it's not always easy to tell which is which.____

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


This is nuts!

Near Victoria yesterday, a construction worker, accidentally nailed in the forehead by a nail-gun, was rushed to a nearby hospital by the site first-aid officer.

On the way to the hospital they were stopped by a police speed trap. So, how did the cop deal with the situation? You’d think he’d see it as a medical emergency. Nope:

"We showed him the nail sticking out of my forehead but he didn't care at
all," Docherty told A-Channel news yesterday.

"He was dead set on getting some tickets," said Docherty.

The police officer followed the two to the hospital and once there issued a seatbelt ticket.

The police chief supported his officer:

The police chief suggested the pair should have called an ambulance.

"I think the officer used his discretion...," Hames said.

"My concern is for the safety of the public at large," he said.

Bullshit! The cop should have provided a high-speed, lights and siren escort to the hospital emergency door. Instead he just followed intending, not to help, but to issue a bloody ticket for an ‘offense’ that shouldn’t even be on the f***ing books!

Such behaviour certainly doesn’t boost respect for or confidence in the police. It does the exact opposite.

This case is reminiscent of law enforcement’s attitude towards citizens who attempt to defend themselves on their own property. People are actively discouraged from doing so and face charges should a perp be hurt in the process. This is not a healthy trend.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Al Gore’s rough ride

The Telegraph recently reported on Al Bore’s speech (ka-ching!) to a forum in Singapore. Not surprisingly Gore droned on about the evil oil industry’s funding of a "misinformation" campaign opposing global warming hysteria, er, "consensus".

I’m not sure how Gore was received in Singapore - one assumes with reverence. Where he got a very rough ride, though, was in the readers’ comments to the Telegraph story. Gore was raked over the coals beginning with a long list of his ‘errors’. There were many more great comments including this one singled out by Roger Thornhill:
Al Gore reminds me of a second hand car salesman and a fairground shouter! Want an easy answer? too stupid to understand the complex issues? are you a guilt ridden self hating middleclass handwringer? Are you jelous of people who have more than you? Then Al Gore is the man for you! He will tell you all you need to know in easy to understand words! He will tell you who you should blame and persecute! Roll up, roll up folks, come and see the greatest con on earth, all you have to do is listen and obey without question and good ole Al will save you all from the evil capitalist swine who swan around in their big cars and fancy homes! CO2 is to blame for all your woes he shouts! If someone is not convinced, ‘heretic’ he cries!
Al Gore will stir up the mob and tell them who to blame as long as you DO NOT question his wisdom and he will lead the huddled masses to a socialist utopia and paradise just as long as you do exactly what he says with no questions asked! Hail the great and all knowing Al Gore! Hail the greatest scientist the world has ever teen! Vote for Al and you need never bother to think for yourself ever again because he will do all your thinking for you! HOORAY! - Stephanie Clague, 10:18AM.

Heartwarming, really!

[h/t to Roger Thornhill at Neuearbeit Macht Frei]

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Mark Steyn enlists Steve McIntyre and Private Beauchamp in reaching a familiar conclusion:

As Pogo said, way back in the 1971 Earth Day edition of a then-famous comic strip, "We have met the enemy, and he is us." Even when we don't do anything: In the post-imperial age, powerful nations no longer have to invade and kill. Simply by driving a Chevy Suburban, we can make the oceans rise and wipe the distant Maldive Islands off the face of the Earth. This is a kind of malignant narcissism so ingrained it's now taught in our grade schools. Which may be why, even when the New Republic's diarist goes to Iraq and meets the real enemy, he still assumes it's us.

Canadian Bar Association supports terrorist

From the Globe and Mail:
Lawyers for ... Omar Khadr reacted in shocked disbelief after their call for the Canadian Bar Association to pressure the federal government to help Mr. Khadr drew a standing ovation and a promise of action from CBA president Parker MacCarthy.

I can't say I'm surprised. But, to the CBA with 'all due respect', screw you!

Omar Khadr, 15 years old when captured in Afghanistan and charged with murder, deserves to be tried as an adult and sentenced accordingly.

When Omar Khadr said "Canada doesn't care", he was wrong. I certainly care what happens to him. On conviction, anything less than life in prison will be too little. Also, under no circumstances do I want to see him returned to Canada.

And if Omar Khadr was the "child" the CBA and his defence lawyers say he was, then they should also be calling for his despicable crone of a mother to be charged with child abuse for allowing him to join al Quaeda as a combatant in Afghanistan.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Canada gets its first Boeing C-17

_____Boeing C-17 Globemaster III____

The Torch has details on the delivery of the first of four C-17 heavy lifters.

Finally, we have some serious strategic airlift. Specs here.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Daycare is for indoctrination - the Lego lessons

I’ll bet most people place their kids in daycare expecting them to socialize, have fun and maybe get some bonus learning experiences. Well, the staff at Hilltop Chidren's Center in Seattle, WA have some very politically slanted ideas on what kind of fun their little charges should be exposed to.

Legos were OK at first until Hilltop decided that the children were learning the wrong lessons from such play. So Legos were banned:

This bold decision would demonstrate our discomfort with the issues we saw at play in Legotown. And it posed a challenge to the children: How might we create a "community of fairness" about Legos?

We also discussed our beliefs about our role as teachers in raising political issues with young children.

...we want to take part in shaping the children's understandings from a perspective of social justice.

These children seemed to squirm at the implications of privilege, wealth, and power that "giving" holds.

Our planning was guided by our goals for social justice learning,

Now, with Legotown dismantled and the issues of equity and power squarely in front of us, we took up the idea of power and its multiple meanings.

In Legotown, the children had constructed a social system of power where a few people made the important decisions and the rest of the participants did the grunt work...
[Which, when you think about it, is pretty much how the real world
works. But, as we all know, socialists hate the real world and in their Utopian
fantasies are forever seeking ways to change human nature.]

After a period of theoretical indoctrination of the children, Legos were reinstated, with a new set of rules more to the Hilltop staff's socialist liking. For example:

...it was time to challenge the children to wrestle their theoretical understandings into practical shape and apply their analysis of individual and collective ownership to a concrete project.

If Legotown was an embodiment of individualism, Lego Pike Place Market would be an experiment in collectivity and consensus.

Collectivity is a good thing

Shared power is a valued goal

All structures are public structures,

All structures will be standard sizes.

One could go on at length about the significance of this. But there are at least two others that do a much better job than I could possibly attempt. So,

Credit where credit is due
I first encountered this story in an excellent essay at "Breath of the Beast".
David Thompson offers his take and provokes some interesting debate in the comments.
A couple of final thoughts

This is another example fitting a theme I’ve posted on before. The left has long seen the education system as an obvious vehicle for socialist indoctrination and they’ve made great inroads. Wouldn’t it be nice if the philosophies of Adam Smith, Hayek and Friedman were at least as well represented in the today’s curricula as the socialists’?

And it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if I were to learn that the daycare teachers in this case were thoroughly exposed to this kind of thinking during their college studies.

Update: Here's the "Rethinking Schools" reaction to Fox News and others' criticism of their Lego article. [H/t to John M Reynolds]

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Star Power

I. Oprah in the boondocks of BC

On Friday, star-struck villagers of Alert Bay, BC were thrilled to greet multi-billionaire celebrity and "wise woman" Oprah Winfrey who is traveling with BC billionaire Jimmy Pattison aboard his "150 foot yacht".

Highlights / quotes:

[‘Namgis Chief Bill] Cranmer, ..."It was like a mob. She signed autographs, posed for pictures."

Winfrey was given a tour of some native artifacts at the cultural centre before heading up to the potlatch.

Andrea Cranmer..."says she admires Winfrey and watches her television show because she promotes things like women's leadership."

During the potlatch, it's customary for women not to speak....

Winfrey ...[breaking with custom] told the assembled crowd that they're fortunate to have their culture intact.
... when many African-American traditions had been lost.
[Not sure what ‘A-American traditions’ she means - slavery’s gone, thankfully, but I guess there’s still gangsta rap, ebonics and basketball.]

"I knew she was here, but I just don't give a s--t," said Alert Bay resident Roy Johnson...[in a dissenting opinion]

Anyway it’s heart warming to see that, thanks to the Western culture of science and technology, satellite TV ensures a ready supply of star-fu.., um, -huggers even deep in the backwoods of BC.

II. An idiot’s useful idiot

Mutual admiration

"Chavez met privately with Penn for two hours Thursday, praising the actor as "brave" for urging Americans to impeach President Bush."

Penn sat near the front, at times applauding and nodding in agreement.

[Meanwhile back in Beverly Hills]

Cuban-born actress Maria Conchita Alonso, who grew up in Venezuela, said Penn is lending support to a "totalitarian" leader..."he's being used".

In his "search for new paths" Penn, instead of looking to Chavez, ought to bone up on Adam Smith. That way he might at least discover the source of his own prosperity.

Friday, August 3, 2007

More on the Avi Lewis interview with Hirsi Ali

Canadian Blue Lemons has posted a couple of great YouTube videos (here and here) with Michael Coren and guests discussing the Avi Lewis interview with Hirsi Ali.

Also see 'Breath of the Beast's interesting analysis of Avi Lewis' style of argument (and of the progressive left's in general) [via 'Blazing Cat Fur'].

Hate speech complaint dropped

Kathy Shaidle reports that the hate speech complaint against Free Dominion has been dropped.

Good news! Details here. It would be nice to think that the blogger campaign had something to do with it.

Now if only the 'hate messages' section of the Human Rights Act could be scrapped we'd be making some real progress.

Update: Jeez! Apparently the unconscionable jerks at the Human Rights Commission were just screwing with Free Dominion. So let me amend the last statement above to include scrapping the CHRC and the entire Human Rights Act.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

A Canadian “radical cyberfeminist”

"Quantum Feminist Mnemotechnics: The Archival Text, Digital Narrative and the Limits of Memory"

Thanks to David Thompson in "Peddling Stupidity" we learn that the above string of characters is the title of the doctoral dissertation written and presumably defended by Carolyn Guertin to earn her PhD at the University of Alberta. Dr. Guertin is now a Senior McLuhan Fellow at the University of Toronto.

Her thesis is an outstanding example of the kind of postmodernist nonsense passed off as serious scholarship in humanities faculties in universities across the western world. A few representative samples of the verbal mayhem:

From the Overview: "Evolving out of the evocative echoes between three countercultural discourses, hypertext, cyberfeminist theory and the Canadian feminist school of writing known as fiction-theory, my dissertation undertakes a study of the function of memory in digital narrative.......Quantum feminist mnemotechnics incorporate the archival nature of the database into the text's structure and interface, privileging self-reflexive narrative and the spatio-temporal elements of postmodernism."
From Chapter 1: "The digital archive is a model well suited to our times and to a cyberfeminist agenda precisely because it is an efficient tool for inclusive dealings with large quantities of disparate information. The archive, as defined by Jacques Derrida in his book Archive Fever , is born equally of the compulsion to remember and of fears of forgetting. .....
.......Cyberfeminist embodiment, as a 'database of intensities', is an exploration of the senses and of hybridity (as opposed to simple dualisms or binary oppositions) in the suspended present moment, which engender a new awareness of the body--not a loss of body boundaries as Donna Haraway's "Cyborg Manifesto" advocates."
From Chapter 2: "These are what I call quantum feminisms. Quantum feminisms are the new visual perspectives--or, more accurately, orientations--of the age of the matrix."
And in Conclusion (this is good): "The whole concept of reaching a conclusion or drawing conclusions is, of course, antithetical to the nature of this kind of literature as much as to my aims in this work as a whole. However, it is perhaps appropriate to tuck in some of the loose threads and tie together all of this as some kind of a patchworked piece.........
.........I have explored matrices, folds, knots, all of them, perhaps only adding to their complexity rather than managing to unravel them. The only way to truly unsnarl irreconcilables of course is to twing, as Óh-T'bee demonstrates. I have twinged? Twung? Twisted? Danced as hard as I could through raising arguments, shapes and states--probes, McLuhan would have called them--that cut across and through these constructions in space and time: the quantum, browsing, becoming, agency, noise, flow, différance , interface, objects, events, duration, intervallic space, topology, complexity, ecstasy, incorporation, inscription, translation, heterotopic space, hierophanies, hysteria, hybridity, chora, translation, transformance, interference, entanglement, chaos, Hilbert space, speed, resonance, rupture, rapture, wanderlust, subjectivities, all kinds of systems, including the circulatory one of the body itself.....
.............In mnemonic space, there is no past or future, only intertwined intervals. The twing, however, is irreducible. Transformance is the only door out."

Aarrrgghhh! Guertin’s dissertation consists of over 120,000 words of sustained bafflegab. It’s densely packed with loopy jargon; names are dropped by the dozen, and; there are many vague references to mathematical and physical concepts such as Hilbert space, fractals and, of course, quantum physics and relativity - all with little or no discernable justification.

There’s much more in David Thompson’s post. It’s a great critique with additional insights in the many comments and in this follow-up post.

What I find absolutely fascinating is the utter brazenness. Preparing and presenting such gibberish requires extraordinary "chutzpah" (to quote Mr. Thompson). There’s not much doubt Guertin is an intelligent woman; and it’s unlikely she’s completely deluded (nuts). So perhaps her intelligence resembles that of a sophisticated con-artist, passing off (successfully in her own radical milieu) incomprehensible drivel as genuine scholarship. It must take monumental nerve (and a six-figure salary doesn't hurt) to do this with a straight face year in and year out - to her students, her colleagues and her conference audiences. It’s really quite an astounding phenomenon!

But Carolyn Guertin and many thousands like her have been taught to think and express themselves this way. They submit their doctoral dissertations for review and earnestly defend them to win their PhDs (ie other PoMo flakes nod their agreement). They are hired to teach and fill prestigious scholarly positions. Entire faculties in nearly every university in North America and Europe are dedicated to spreading their postmodernist pathology as far and wide as possible.

You do have to wonder how this loony business got started and how and why it continues. As David Thompson observed:
"There are simply too many incompetents, ideologues and charlatans in the PoMo humanities to dismiss them as anomalies. That so many of them survive, even flourish, suggests a dysfunction of the academic environment they inhabit."
At best it’s a fraudulent waste of time and billions of taxpayer dollars. At worst it’s a kind of intellectual anarchy that does serious harm - to young student minds and in the longer run to society in general.