Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sunny Day, Sweepin' the Clouds Away... (Part 1)

So, it seems Blogging Tory Raging Tory is, among his other failings, a global warming denier. Now, I could take this gentleman, his beliefs, and his politics, to task, but instead I'm going to address a particularly heinous document he produced as "proof" of the "controversy" surrounding Anthropogenic Global Warming.

Namely, U. S. Senate Minority Report: More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims Scientists Continue to Debunk “Consensus” in 2008.

Now, in my initial brief perusal of the document in question, my impression was that it was a massive example of quote-mining and showboating. However, given that dear Justin suggested that I had overlooked this document, I felt it was worthwhile to give it a more thorough going-over.

So, here goes. (Note: Initially, I'd planned to make this a single post, but given the magnitude of the document - and the attempt at misdirection it makes - it really needs a bit more time. So here's part one.)

First impressions - too many links - and this is me talking. Also, for a document supposedly updated on January 27th, 2009, there are an awful lot of broken links. Regardless, in the first full page of the document (not counting the colossal crest), there are forty-nine links. Of these:

  • Links to articles the author of the document wrote: 20 (including one link back to the document itself!)

  • Duplicated links: 3 (or 6, depending on how you look at it.)

  • Links to articles authored by organizations or individuals whose primary (or only) concern is disproving AGW: 4

  • Links to articles authored by retired academics: 2 (One of whom thinks that second hand smoke is harmless, too!)

  • Links to powerpoint presentations by current academics: 1

  • Links to articles authored by current academics: 3 (Some sketchy funding there, though)

  • Links to articles that do not support the premise of the document (that AGW is a fraud): 9

  • Links to articles that include links to thorough rebuttals: 1

  • Links to op-ed pieces: 3

  • Links to blog posts: 1

So. Not a spectacular start to this (in the author's own words) "blockbuster report".

Next time, we'll have a look at a few of the six hundred and fifty scientists who make up the body of the report. Any guesses as to what we'll find?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Asshat of the Day - February 20th, 2009

Today's Asshat of the Day is an individual who I suspect didn't get a Valentine this year, and whom - at the risk of an ad hominem attack - I sincerely hope never reproduces. Not that I'm so sure his genes are that bad - I'm sure any children of his could grow up to be decent human beings if removed from his influence - but rather that I'd prefer it if he never got to have sex. Or experience much by way of pleasure. Ever.

Strong, you say? You be the judge. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, live, from the Blogging Tories Forum, Mr. Rusty Bedsprings!

Now, I grant you, usually making fun of the Blogging Tories is someone else's schtick, but Rusty here is so... deserving a target that we're going to spend an AotD post, just dissecting what's wrong with him. (And this is just his public life. I've no doubt there are many, many more things wrong with his private life.)

First, a brief list of topics that Rusty himself has started:

Pro life supporters are anti-womenPoorly titled thread - Rusty is actually whining about the U of C shutting down an offensive anti-abortion demonstration. And even that's a smokescreen - he's not complaining about fettered rights to free speech - he's simply purely anti-abortion, because the second post (also his) complains about Obama returning funding to NGOs that sponsor abortions - though US funds cannot be earmarked for that particular operation.
anti missle[sic] shield? who needs it, not me i'm invincibleDemonstrating an ability to state a definitive opinion despite having read no more than a sentence from an article somewhere as "research", Rusty attempts to assert, in the face of opposing evidence, that anyone who doesn't want to build an anti-ballistic missile system is a moron, and damn the expense! This one's a good read - even confronted with the ineffective nature of the system, Rusty sticks to his guns.
Your[sic] patriotic? whats[sic] up with you...Basically, again, with no research, Rusty wades into a case of "kids these days aren't patriotic enough". This, in typical BT Forum manner, transforms into a case of "I wish we were more like the US."
Can their[sic] be too many?Intended in reference to the case of Nadya Suleman, the young woman who had octuplets as a result of the implantation of multiple frozen embryos. Here, we see Rusty and the rest of the BT crowd trying to reconcile three long-standing right-wing philosophies - less legislation, control over reproduction, and "babies are good!" - with a traditional left-wing tautology that was, at the time of the posting, becoming painfully obvious in the Suleman case: Some people can't be trusted to do what's good for them, society, or their children. Regular poster and general village idiot ezbeatz weighed in with his statement (short form: "Bureaucrats and regulations are evil!") and got modded up by our boy Rusty.
GoodShort form: "Blargh, blargh, blargh! Guy makes mistake, punish him forever!" I'm the first to agree that Erik Millet made the wrong decision here - Political Correctness and acceptance are all very well, but it's O Canada. The kids don't have to sing it if they don't want to. However, saying "Good" to the fact that the poor, beleaguered man has received death threats and may lose his job is quite another thing.
is it wrong to be philisophical(sic)?This post was so incoherent that the BTs themselves criticized it.

In a way, this post is directed less at Rusty himself and more at the kind of people he represents - those who are uneducated, unintelligent, opinionated, and proud of all three without realizing that value attributed to the last is proportional to the first two. Those who read what they want from a document, and ignore other points. These are the people who have earned the title of Asshat of the Day, and representing them is a card-carrying member: Rusty Bedsprings.

P.S.: My own subversive handle on the BT forums is darkstorme - I encourage anyone who wants a bit of a laugh to join me in posting rational arguments to the various self-congratulatory discussions that take place.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A New Kind of Asshat

Samson Effect dropping in with my first post here on Not Fit to Print. Since I've been tabbed by AN as a contributor, it's probably high time I started contributing.

Anyways, I like to think of myself as a tolerant person. I've few qualms with respect to personal faith, or political ideology, and if people are sensible and reasonable, I often afford the same. That being said, there are some issues or events that get to me, and fewer still that provoke a visceral reaction. A news item coming from Italy a couple weeks back was one such thing that made me feel a touch queasy, and so without further ado, your Asshat of the Day:

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

So how did Mr. Berlusconi earn this title? The summary version of it is that Italy is going through its very own Terry Schiavo case, and may be facing a constitutional crisis as a result thanks to Berlusconi. A 38-year-old Italian woman was the victim of a car accident in 1992, and suffered brain damage to the point of putting her in a persistent vegetative state, which she has been in since. After a decade-long legal battle, doctors had begun reducing nutrition to prepare removal of feeding tubes, after seventeen years in a coma, which according to the father, would be in accordance with the woman's wishes, and according to my opinions, is the right thing to do after 17 years and no change in condition.

Berlusconi, however, does not seem inclined to agree with me, and that is certainly his right. However, he issued an emergency decree that effectively reverses the court ruling, which states that food and water cannot be suspended for patients depending on them. So, what was Mr. Berlusconi's justifications for blocking the feeding tube removal, after consulting with the Vatican head of state?

Physically, she was “in the condition to have babies.”

I am not making this up. I wish I was. This justification to me is even more abhorrent than any of the ones used by the Schindlers in the Schiavo case, and I thought there was some offensive ones in there, from claiming it would violate her wishes as a Roman Catholic (which, I suppose, is fair), to challenging the PVS diagnosis (which, while also fair, I think is pretty silly after seeing the CT scan from 2002), to claiming abuse on the part of the husband (which is unfounded and completely off-side). Relevant document here; see page 3 for the abuse allegation.

This justification for barring euthanasia is worse than all of those because it, to me, reduces a woman to the functionality of her uterus, based on a religious doctrine that is not necessarily hers, which makes it a double-slap to me; not only have you apparently based the worth of a woman on her uterus, you've now imposed your religion on her, and everyone who simply want to see her rest in peace after 17 years of PVS. I think it's about time to let go; why Berlusconi's thinking about babies in this case is utterly beyond me, and if after 17 years and massive brain trauma, there's been no improvement in condition, it's very unlikely that there ever will be, and as of 9 February, she has passed away. May she rest in peace.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, Silvio Berlusconi. Your Asshat of the Day, and what an asshat it is.

And Another Author - Fiery Kitten

Sound the miniature trumpets and raise the comically small banners once more, for we've got another contributor!

Please welcome Fiery Kitten, coming from Kingston to add a feminine touch to the crude depravity that this blog has been up to this point.

So... she's on! You may now go back to whatever you were doing.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Well, Seems Like Someone Wasn't Paying Attention in School...

Justin Hoffer, from Raging Tory makes a rather unusual assertion:

Freedom continues to suffer as separatist revisionists destroy our history.


As political correctness continues to destroy our freedoms, it begins to rewrite our history. Here's something they don't teach you in school. Canada went through two rebellions before we were released from British rule. No one I know was ever taught this in school. Not even my parents.

Now, you see, I find this claim a bit odd, since I distinctly recall being taught about the rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada in Grade 8. I recall writing an essay on the topic. Emphasis was placed more on Upper Canada than Lower Canada, but given that my Grade 8 education was in Ontario, that's to be expected - we could have field trips to emphasize the Upper Canada Rebellion. The Lower Canada Rebellion would've been a bit of a hike.

A cursory search turns up this curriculum document. Page 57:

Students examine the causes of the rebellions of 1837–38 in Upper and Lower Canada and describe the roles various men and women played in the conflict. Students use inquiry/research and communication skills to identify social, economic, political, and legal changes in the colonies between 1837 and 1850 and to analyse their importance. Students consider ideas about conflict and change, methods of creating change, and methods of conflict resolution in both historical and contemporary contexts.

So, more accurately, Justin should have said "Here's something that they teach you in elementary school."

There's also a certain delicious irony that he's touting the Rebellions of 1837 as a demonstration that the sword is mightier than the pen, and a shining example of Canada's rebellious spirit, when the Lower Canada Rebellion is held up by the same separatists he condemns in the beginning of the post as a cause célèbre.

Update: A Lame Defense Avails Him Naught

Quoth Justin:

Must be just my NDP government here in Manitoba that blocks it out, then. My older brother wasn't taught about it, and my younger sister, who is still in school, hasn't been taught, either.

Hm. Well, then, there must be something wrong with this Grade 5 Social Studies Curriculum Document I procured from the government of Manitoba's education website. Because, you know, it says (on page 183, introducing Cluster 4):

Students examine life and citizenship in British North America. This study includes a focus on the United Empire Loyalists, War of 1812, Selkirk Settlement, 1837 to 1838 Rebellions, and the people, issues, and events surrounding the origins of Canadian Confederation.

And I suppose the activities on pages 199:

Students read or listen to excerpts from Lord Durham’s report on problems in Canada following the Rebellions of 1837-1838. Students discuss Durham’s main points and make predictions about the solutions he will propose. Students share their predictions with each other and discuss what they think life may have been like in Upper Canada and Lower Canada at this time, making connections to some of the ongoing historical issues faced by Canada as a nation.


Using print and electronic resources, students research people or groups involved in the Rebellions of 1837 to 1838, as well as the aftermath of the Rebellions. Students record the position and actions of the individual during and after the rebellions.


Students listen to the lyrics of the traditional French folk song, Un Canadien Errant/ AWandering Canadian, about an exiled Patriote following the Rebellion in Lower Canada. Students discuss the feelings expressed in the song, and other observations (e.g., their impressions of the consequences of the rebellions, whether they think the punishment of the rebels was fair, did the reformers make the right choice in resorting to violence, and were their actions effective in changing government?).

and 206:

Students assume the role of an individual involved in the 1837 and 1838 Rebellions (e.g., the radicals Louis-Joseph Papineau in Lower Canada, William Lyon Mackenzie in Upper Canada), or the moderates (e.g., Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine in Lower Canada and Robert Baldwin in Upper Canada), and prepare and present a persuasive speech expressing their position.
TIP: Refer to the Acquiring Strategy earlier in this Learning Experience that refers to roles in the Rebellions (BLM 5.4.3o—Role Cards: Rebellions of 1837 and 1838). As a part of their presentation, the students representing the reformer groups may collaborate to develop action plans to counteract the Family Compact in Upper Canada and the Château Clique in Lower Canada.

...were missed by the NDP's revisionist leftist censors, eh? Or maybe poor Justin was tired and fell asleep in class a lot, because the persecution complex that he was developing, even then, was keeping him up at night.

The Progress of a Right Winger (Conclusion):

Step 1: Lefties are destroying history! (Also, they are somehow responsible for the threatened violence related to a reenactment of the Plains of Abraham!)

Step 2: Well, maybe not ALL lefties, but the lefties where I live are!

Step 3: Well, maybe not the lefties in my area, but the ones who taught me were!

Step 4: *sulks*

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Brief Outburst on Apostrophe Abuse

Look, people, it's really very easy.

The apostrophe is used to indicate third-person proper noun possession, or to indicate a contraction. (Or, occasionally, to indicate glottal stops in languages other than English.) It is not used when indicating a plural. It is not used when writing the simple passive present tense of a verb, or the active future tense.

So these are just fine:

  • That is Jake's house.
  • The dog over there is Terri's
  • Luke's X-wing is parked over there.
  • I can't (cannot) do that.
  • I shouldn't (should not) do that.
  • I wouldn't (would not) do that.
  • I don't (do not) think I would do that.
  • They're (they are) sure to find out if I do that.
  • You're (you are) sure they won't (will not)?
  • Alright, then, I'm (I am) going to do it.

The exception here is the word "it". The possessive form applying to "it" is "its". That is to say, "Where's Tony's dog? That's its ball right there!" is correct, while "Where's Tony's dog? That's it's ball right there!" is not.

The following are incorrect uses of the apostrophe.

He grew up in squalor, in the slum's district of town.The slums are a location. One slum, many slums. The district is not possessed by the slums - it is comprised of them.
[His home] became like an oven in the summer, an ice locker in the winter, and during the rain seasons's flooded to the point they could leave nothing on the floor for fear it would be swept away.Seasons. Plural. Otherwise, the question would be, "The rainy season's what?"
His mother kept them isolated and away from the eye's of the rest of town. She kept her feature's hidden for her work...Plural. Eyes. Features. Not rocket science.
As the year's progressed, he mastered the cantrip's...Plural! Plural!
...aware of a group of burly young boy's sneering and hurrying after him.*whimpers*
...could only train him the rudimentary basic's of such a weapon...Plural! PLURAL! Kyaaaieee!
Perhap's Bezrel may have been disgusted by...... the word is, in fact, "perhaps". It's not even plural. How could you do this?

(As you may have guessed, this bit was engendered by one individual and their writing. It makes me stabby.)

Tune in next time for Capital Letters: When Not to Use Them!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Please Welcome Samson Effect!

Yes, we've added a new voice to Not Fit to Print - coming from sunny Waterloo, Ontario, we now have Samson Effect as a regular author!

Well, at least as regular as I am.

You may now put down your comically small banners and proceed with whatever you were planning on doing. And comment, people!