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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sexist lab mice engage in gender bias!

The smell of a man makes mice more stressed than the smell of a woman

It turns out the best-laid research plans involving mice and men have a bit of a wrinkle — the lab rodents appear to react differently to male scientists during experiments than they do to females.
And that could skew results of numerous medical studies in which the critters are used as stand-ins for humans, suggests Jeffrey Mogil, a professor of behavioural neuroscience at McGill University, whose lab set out to test the responses of mice to male versus female experimenters.

Study finds one third of Canadian university graduates are functionally illiterate

About a third of Canadian university graduates are functionally illiterate according to recent data (click HERE for more).

My guess is that figure goes up to 80% if you're talking about graduates from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

Oh no! The great Bob Hoskins died of pneumonia at age 71

Actor Bob Hoskins has died at the age of 71 suffering from pneumonia, his agent has confirmed.
Hoskins retired from acting in 2012 at the age of 69 after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
The Oscar-nominated star of The Long Good Friday, Mona Lisa and Who Framed Roger Rabbit was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in the autumn of 2011.
This scene, the ending of The Long Good Friday, is considered by many to be one of the great moments in cinema. Hoskins' character, a British gangster boss, gets in his car thinking he is making a getaway with his own driver, only to discover he is hopelessly screwed. As a tweet from Simon Pegg today put it, "Bob Hoskins doing every emotion under the sun, without ever saying a word."

A young Palestinian woman explains how Christians are being purged by Muslims from Palestinian territories

"Israel doesn't threaten us or kill us for sharing our views. Palestinians do." 

More HERE 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Audit finds issues with fishy Toronto trustee expenses

I'm still thinking about running for the TDSB in October's election - with only a handful of exceptions, the current batch are a deplorable lot:
Toronto trustees like to have their say in the boardroom, but they do a lot of talking outside of it as well — racking up thousands of dollars worth of calls to and from the Virgin Islands, Panama, Cuba, Greece and Mexico.
A detailed internal audit of Toronto District School Board trustees found numerous examples when they were, mostly without question, reimbursed for unauthorized or dubious expenses, including conference costs six days after the end of a three-day conference, $100 for alcohol and a $250 parking violation — issued for either blocking a fire route or a fire hydrant.
Trustee John Hastings, chair of the audit committee, said he could not explain the claims...

And now, in keeping with the lofty intellectual tone of this blog, Billy Connolly telling fart jokes...

Canadian Islamic charity supported by Justin Trudeau added to list of terrorist entities

A Mississauga charity that has worked in the Palestinian territories has been added to the federal government’s list of terrorist entities.
On Tuesday, the government said it had reasonable grounds to believe that the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy Canada (IRFAN-Canada) has “knowingly carried out, attempted to carry out, participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity or is knowingly acting on behalf of, at the direction of or in association with such an entity.”

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau ignored pleas from Muslim reformers like Tarek Fatah and Jewish organizations warning him about their support for terrorism and was the headline speaker at an IRFAN Canada sponsored conference that was suddenly and mysteriously switched to being sponsored by CAIR-CAN (now known as the National Canadian Council of Muslims).  Although Trudeau had agreed to speak at the conference while it was under the sponsorship of IRFAN.

However Marc Garneau, who may lead the Liberal Party after Justin Trudeau falls flat on his face in the next election, had the wisdom to have nothing to do with that conference.

The NCCM's previous incarnation CAIR-Can shared one of its Board members with the terror-funding IRFAN.The NCCM has issued a libel notice to the Prime Minister of Canada's Office and the Prime Minister's spokesman Jason MacDonald for saying the group had  "documented ties to a terrorist organization such as Hamas." Those ties look even more conclusive now.

Haven't heard much about that law suit lately, have we?

UPDATE: RCMP raids Muslim relief group’s offices as Canada declares it a terrorist organization

Boy London fashion brand rejects concern over ‘Nazi’ logo

An international fashion label has dismissed concerns over the striking resemblance between its logo and the Nazi eagle symbol.
The UK-based Boy London brand — popularised by celebrities including Cara Delevingne, Rihanna and Jessie J — refused to accept any comparison between its trademark logo, of a spread-winged eagle perched on a podium, and the fascist Third Reich’s Parteiadler symbol.
Yeah, their logo and the official emblem of the Nazi party are nothing alike...

Robocall “Scandal”: An Insider’s View Of The Left’s Embarrassing Fraud

... One of the people who stuck out most in the room was a tall well-dressed (with impeccable posture) man named Derek Soberal, a highly-visible Toronto protester who I would later learn has the reputation for being one of the city’s most unabashed cop-baiters. Almost every sentence of Soberal’s excited outbursts included the word “Harper”, a few times calling for the government to be immediately disbanded.
I tried to point out to him (and a couple of others in the room) that it was much too early to make such demands, there hadn’t even been an investigation. Jon appeared to understand that and helped bring back our focus- we agreed that what we were calling for was an investigation, not a revolution.
At the end I’d found myself volunteering to set up a website and a Twitter account. Jon told us that he had a volunteer from the ‘Palestinian community’ who would be providing a truck, a sound system, and expert knowledge on how to organize a parade...
  ...Shortly after I setup the website, I got a curious message from Ari Pottens at Avvaz.org; the petition website where LeadNow posted their call for an investigation into the Robocalls. Ari offered to bring us some speakers, “an MP or 2 from the NDP/Liberals”. I politely declined, telling him that we had agreed (as part of our effort to be non-partisan) not to allow politicians on our stage.
Avaaz was founded by people from MoveOn.org, an American activist group that was the model behind LeadNow. Both MoveOn and Avaaz are tightly connected with the Democratic Party (as many say LeadNow is with the NDP). It felt rather creepy to have someone from an American organization (connected to a foreign political party) offering to serve up “an MP or 2″...
More at GenuineWitty

Lefty Toronto cinema legend Reg Hartt gives shout out to Rob Ford after Olivia Chow proves useless

 I have been a supporter of both Olivia Chow and Jack Layton since they began their political careers. My appeals to them were met with a deafening SILENCE. http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=174449
One call to Tom at Mayor Ford’s office was electric. Where I was brought up we stick with those who help us. Yes, Mayor Ford has his faults but the number one thing Jane Jacobs wanted from people in political office is accessibility. Ford, alone, is accessible.


h/t I hate the war on Rob Ford @Facebook

Chow seeking the endorsement of homophobic rape promoters didn't help much either.

Obama strategy revealed: Kerry was appointed Secretary of State to make Hillary look good

After boneheadedly suggesting Israel could become an "apartheid" state, John Kerry scurried away from those remarks:
‘First, Israel is a vibrant democracy and I do not believe, nor have I ever stated, publicly or privately, that Israel is an apartheid state or that it intends to become one,’’ he said.
‘‘Second, I have been around long enough to also know the power of words to create a misimpression, even when unintentional, and if I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two state solution,’’ Kerry added.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Robocalls "scandal" that never was

There are 525,600 minutes in a year.

And there have been 3,581 news stories written about the Robocall scandal, according to the Infomart database.

Except last week, we found out it was fake. There was no conspiracy to use automated phone calls to dupe voters in the 2011 election into going to the wrong place to vote.

After three years and millions of wasted tax dollars, Elections Canada – possibly the most anti-Conservative government agency in Canada, other than the CBC – concluded the whole thing was a myth, like Sasquatch or the Loch Ness monster.

It’s not just that the Conservatives didn’t do anything wrong. It’s that no one did anything wrong. As Yves Cote, the Commissioner of Canada Elections, put it: “the evidence uncovered in the investigation is not sufficient to give me reasonable grounds to believe that an offence was committed.”

PA President Abbas' pact with terror group Hamas leads Obama to throw in the towel on mideast peace push

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gave a nod to Israeli sensitivities this week by denouncing the Holocaust as "the most heinous crime against humanity" in modern times. But while talking the talk, he walked the walk in the opposite direction by making a unity pact with the Holocaust-denying terror group Hamas which controls the Gaza strip.

That move, in which the PA is now linked to a group actively seeking Israel's destruction as well as advocating the murder of Jews has led President Obama to say it may be time for a "pause" in US attempts to broker a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. That pause may be a very long one. US anti-terror legislation may require a cessation of funding to the Palestinian Authority or even dealings with them.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu said today on CBS' Face the Nation, "President Abbas has to decide whether he wants a pact with Hamas or peace with Israel.  He cannot speak out of both sides of his mouth.  He cannot embrace Hamas and say that he wants peace with Israel." Abbas' move may be a setback to the current strategy of building up the economy and government institutions in the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority. Unless there is a significant development on the Palestinian side, if there is to be any progress, it may be that the terms of a future agreement may have to be imposed upon rather than negotiated with the Palestinians.
(Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday a "pause" might be needed in U.S.-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, suggesting leaders on both sides lacked the will to make the necessary compromises.
Israel on Thursday suspended participation in negotiations with the Palestinians in response to President Mahmoud Abbas's unexpected unity pact with the rival Islamist Hamas group, which Israel and the United States consider a terrorist organization.

Bonehead bigots distribute racist anti-immigration flyer in Brampton

There are serious, legitimate concerns about the amount and type of immigration to Canada. More than half of all immigrants who come to Canada settle in three cities, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, which has led to overcrowding and unmanageable congestion, particularly in Ontario's capitol, which takes in the most newcomers of the three. There is a clear need to coordinate immigration strategies between federal, provincial and municipal governments to ensure that those willing to live in less dense areas are prioritized.

There is also a need to reexamine the failed experiment of Canadian multiculturalism which encourages immigrants to not adapt to their new home. But just as there are concerns about some immigrant groups who expect Canada to bend to their culture, immigrants from all over the world have come and improved this country by integrating and contributing their expertise and industriousness.

Immigrants from China and the Sikh community, the latter of which were the target of a racist anti-immigration flyer in Brampton this week, are among the many who have added enormous value to Canada. But for those in the immigration advocacy industry, any question or critique about immigration policy is a catalyst for their mindless accusations of racism, despite race being completely immaterial to any responsible proposal for immigration reform.

But in the case of this Brampton incident, the deplorable bigots who distributed the flyer are obviously racist idiots who deserve nothing but condemnation and contempt. The group Immigration Watch Canada could not have made themselves more clear with their recent statement in which it appears that they are proud of their ignorance and stupidity:
The people offended by an anti-immigration flyer making waves in Brampton, Ont., this week are most likely "cowards and quislings," according to a spokesman for the group responsible for the pamphlet.
Immigration Watch Canada claimed responsibility for the flyer, which took umbrage with the prevalence of Sikh immigrants in the Toronto suburb.  Hundreds of flyers were printed and distributed in the community by group members, the group said.

Olivia Chow meets her mental match

Still unable to articulate coherent policies, or for that matter a coherent sentence (if you don't believe me, check out the video at this link), Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow has decided to scale down on the type of public figure with whom she will appear.

To her rescue came the Iron Sheik, a septuagenarian former bad guy pro-wrestler whose cognitive abilities have been decimated by years of drug abuse. Still, he was quite eloquent compared to Olivia Chow, with whom he held a press conference at a Fashion District sandwich shop in Toronto yesterday.

The Sheik was in town to promote a documentary about him that was made by local filmmakers. Toronto mayor Rob Ford declined to meet with the Sheik or attend the movie's premier. That perceived snub was the catalyst for a remarkable display of self-entitled stupidity in which one of the filmmakers went on a public rant about how it was Ford's "obligation" to attend and support their movie.

If Ford went to every local documentary premiere, he would have time for nothing else. But that is the mindset of the typical Chow voter: stupid, sanctimonious, entitled and clueless.

UPDATE: See also Olivia Chow dines with vulgar anti-Gay bigot and gets his endorsement

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Meanwhile, the Iron Sheik has a strange obsession with Toronto mayor Rob Ford

After Rob Ford arm wrestled Hulk Hogan, the Iron Sheik must have figured this is an act he should get in on.

Someone needs to remind the Sheik that wrestling, like politics, is all rigged.

US Express vs Axis of Evil
In my one experience watching WWF wrestling live, at Maple Leaf Gardens in the 80's, I did see the Iron Sheik and his partner Nikolai Volkoff lose in a battle with the "US Express" (Mike Rotundo and Barry Wyndam). It was very entertaining. Also on the bill that day was the man who would later become governor of Minnestota, Jesse "The Body" Ventura, who, like the Sheik and Volkoff, was a 'bad guy' wrestler. Ventura wrestled some patsy whose name I can't recall and used his signature move of scraping his opponent's eyeballs along the top rope of the ring.

Good Times...

In the "I'll believe it when I see it" category, Palestinian Authority President Abbas promises terror group Hamas will renounce violence and recognize Israel

 Right. So far they haven't renounced their Charter which calls for Israel's destruction and the general killing of Jews.
RAMALLAH, West Bank — Seeking to calm critics of his reconciliation efforts with the militant Hamas group, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday the unity government he plans to head will renounce violence and recognize Israel.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Rick McGinnis: Movies focusing on despair

...There’s a deleted scene in the 1973 film The Exorcist where the two priests, exhausted from their battles with the demon possessing a young girl, try to understand why the Devil would choose an innocent as his battlefield. “I think the point is to make us despair,” says the older priest, played by Max Von Sydow. “To see ourselves as animal and ugly. To reject the possibility that God could love us.” 

Obviously most of us will never find ourselves lost at sea or adrift in space, but movies aren’t made for the tiny or even non-existent minorities that will ever experience these calamities. Loss, isolation, the imminent threat, and fear of death – these are all things we can understand, however, and spectacles like All Is Lost and Gravity take us to where we can confront those terrors in the safety of a theatre seat or our living room couch. This might be the greatest gift films offer us....  (Be warned - spoilers at the link about Gravity for those who haven't seen it.)

Weird Canadian Munchausen Jews to honor author who inspired Kansas City Jew-hating murderer

Independent Jewish Voices, which supports boycotts of Israel and canards about that country, was formed for the expressed purpose of trying to deflect charges of antisemitism towards the hateful campaign against the Jewish State. The group was founded by 9-11 conspiracy theorist Diana Ralph in part with funds from anti-Israel campaigners in the United Church of Canada. The group includes non-Jews among its membership to boost it minuscule numbers.

Ironically, Independent Jewish Voices' positions actually match the Canadian government's definition of antisemitism. So rather than stifle accusations of antisemitism being the motivation of their Gentile comrades, it reiterates that Independent Jewish Voices is a witless band of Munchausen Jews; that is Jews (and some pretending to be) who primarily identify as such for the purpose of vilifying Israel and other Jews as a way of garnering attention while serving their own pathological personal demons.

As if determined to make their depravity abundantly clear, Independent Jewish Voices' latest project is bringing fanatical author Max Blumentahal to Ontario to promote his anti-Israel book Goliath.

Blumenthal was cited by the neo-Nazi Kansas City murderer Frazier Miller as one of his inspirations, writing in an online posting: "Jew journalist Max Blumenthal exposes and explains this attempt by a foreign government Israel, to buy the presidential election for the neo-con, war-mongering republican establishment."

With the Kansas City murders still fresh, one wonders if the motivation for Independent Jewish Voices is sensationalism or as an expression of a continuing determination to prove their stupidity knows no bounds.

 h/t Sassy

UPDATE: Andrew Breitbart confronting a weaselly Max Blumenthal:


Quentin Tarantino's Gawker Lawsuit Dismissed But Can Be Refiled

Quentin Tarantino has suffered a setback in his effort to punish Gawker for linking to a copy of his unproduced screenplay The Hateful Eight.

A federal judge in California has granted the gossip website's motion to dismiss the director's copyright infringement lawsuit. But the court is allowing Tarantino to refile the case if he makes key changes.

About seven-in-ten Americans believe alcohol is more harmful to a person’s health than marijuana and 5 other grass facts

A new Pew Research Center survey found a broad shift in the public’s views on the nation’s drug policies, with many in favor of shifting the focus of government efforts from prosecution to treatment for use of illicit drugs. The survey also attracted much attention for its findings on attitudes about legalizing marijuana and views of its use. Here are six key facts on public opinion about marijuana:

1. Support for marijuana legalization continues to grow

Ontario Liberal cronies paid millions in publicly funded deals

A gap in transparency has allowed millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded contracts to be awarded to friends and allies of political operatives in Ontario without the checks, balances and disclosures that accompany a public tendering process.
A Globe and Mail review has found a pattern of payments, about which little information is available, involving a tight circle of advisers that surrounded former premier Dalton McGuinty during his time in office. Among them were payments of more than $50,000 in the same year to two different companies in the name of the former premier’s campaign director; money repeatedly directed to a high-profile strategist through his then-wife’s business; and more than $300,000 paid to a former chief of staff shortly after he was pushed out of his job.

Related:  Ontario NDP support down, PCs and Liberals tied: poll

h/t Sassy

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Justin Trudeau - the clueless, would-be Prime Minister

Prince Bonehead
OTTAWA - Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau walked off with a skateboard under his arm Wednesday when asked about an international study that contradicts his claims Canada's middle class has faltered under the Harper Conservatives.

The New York Times study found Canada has the richest middle class in the world, with incomes surpassing those of our American counterparts for the first time ever.

Rob Ford speaks out against hike for municipal politicians' salaries

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford spoke out against the possibility of council pay raises Wednesday, ahead of a debate at the city’s executive committee on giving councillors a 13-per-cent salary hike.
The committee will look at two options presented by city staff Wednesday: to either maintain salaries at the current levels adjusted for inflation, or to raise the mayor’s salary from about $177,000 to $200,000 and councillor salaries from about $105,000 to $119,000.
When asked Wednesday what he’d like to see the committee do, Mr. Ford – who is running for re-election and has made spending at City Hall a key campaign platform – said “nothing. Do you get a 13-per-cent raise? No.”

Toronto's dwindling anti-Israel creeps still cling to support for terrorists

About a dozen slimy fanatics gathered across the street from Toronto's Israeli consulate last week to shout about how Israelis are Nazis. I've seen these creeps up close and personal, which is a lot closer than anyone wants to be to them.

Jonathan Halevi notes the number of organizations "endorsing" the types of demonstrations he describes. But he didn't mention that the standard, transparent trick these activists use is to form numerous organizations, all with essentially the same membership, to make it appear they have far more support than they could ever actually muster.

From Halevi's blog:
Coalition of Canadian pro Palestinian organizations sided with Palestinian “political prisoners,” most of them are convicted terrorists, including suicide bombers captured alive and mass murderers. Demonstrators called Israelis “Nazis” and warned that “Zionists are taking over the Canadian government.” 

The Palestine House marked the “Palestinian Political Prisoners' Day” in series of events, including a demonstration in front of the Israeli consulate in Toronto (April 17, 2014), vigil dedicated to Palestinian political prisoners in front of the Israeli consulate (April 18), panel discussion and a movie screening at United Steelworkers Hall (April 19) and letter writing night at Beit Zatoun (April 20). 

The demonstration was organized with coordination with the following organizations Beit Zatoun (a cultural and activism centre in Toronto purporting “to explore issues of social justice and human rights, both locally and internationally”), Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA), Canada Palestine Association (CPA), International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN), Independent Jewish Voices (IJV), Not In Our Name (NION), Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QUAIA), Stop the War Coalition (STWC), United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine/Israel (UNJPPI), Women in Solidarity with Palestine (WSP).


Obama hands Iran another billion dollar payoff

The United States has released $1 billion in cash assets to Iran in April alone under the interim nuclear deal aimed at ratcheting back Iran’s nuclear program, according to the White House.
The Obama administration unfroze Iranian assets totaling $550 million on April 10 and another $450 million on April 15. The United States has now released $2.55 billion to Iran since February, when the scheduled cash infusions first began.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Supreme Court Upholds Michigan’s Affirmative Action Ban

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a Michigan constitutional amendment that bans affirmative action in admissions to the state’s public universities, in a fractured decision that revealed deep divisions among the justices over what role the government should play in protecting racial and ethnic minorities.

The 6-to-2 ruling effectively endorsed similar measures in seven other states and may encourage additional measures banning the use of race in admissions. States that forbid affirmative action in admissions decisions, like Texas, Florida and California, as well as Michigan, have seen a significant drop in the enrollment of black and Hispanic students in their most selective colleges and universities.

More at The New York Times 

h/t Doug D.

New data on asteriod hits on Earth

A visualisation of new data showing the surprising frequency at which the Earth is hit by asteroids has been released.
The finding was made by the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation, which operates a network of sensors that monitor the Earth around the clock listening for the infrasound signature of nuclear detonations.
Between 2000 and 2013, the sensors detected 26 explosions on Earth ranging in energy from one to 600 kilotonnes - but these were not caused by nuclear explosions, but rather by asteroid impacts.

Post-Secondary Education Myths

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Guardian proves, yet again, it's the second dumbest excuse for a newspaper on the planet

The latest in WTF??? from the press' exemplar of idiocy:

Stupid stuff people do in movies all the time but never do in real life

The trailer for Paul Haggis' new movie Third Person just came out, and I noticed a scene where Mila Kunis smashes a bunch of vases with flowers in them.

Which is the sort of thing that happens pretty often in movies.

Have you ever gotten mad and started smashing plates or vases or glasses in your own home?

Maybe this is some sort of common practice that I was just never exposed to, but I've never intentionally done that out of rage at something entirely unrelated to ceramics or glassware.

Because I know I'd get stuck with a big clean-up after if I were ever dumb enough to go on one of those rampages.

Am I the only one who, when they see this happen in a movie, thinks it's really stupid, or is this some fun way of expressing oneself that I'm missing out on?

The hooded face of racist evil, alive and well in Pennsylvania

The Ku Klux Klan has started offering its services as a neighbourhood watch in some American cities, but they claim not to be racially motivated.

"It's not targeting any specific ethnicity," imperial wizard Frank Ancona told PennLive.com. "We don't hate people. We are an organization who looks out for our race."

Robert Fulford: The BDS smokescreen

 ...Like the great majority of Americans in the film industry, Johansson is a liberal Democrat. She took part in the last three presidential elections and raised money for Barack Obama. Unlike many who fall into that category, she also thinks for herself.
The May issue of Vanity Fair carries a cover story about Johansson. The author of the piece, Lili Anolik, asked her how she explains why she has been viciously criticized for the SodaStream ads. Johansson answered, “There’s a lot of anti-Semitism out there.”

That line has been widely quoted, and for good reason. It’s a rare example of candour from someone in her position. Johansson, at least in this instance, doesn’t hesitate to call things by their name...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Right Not To Vote

There are a few times that I didn't vote because there wasn't anyone worth casting a ballot for. That's an important right. Ezra Levant raises the critical point that it's not necessarily good for democracy to pressure people who are ignorant of issues and uninterested in voting to decide how the country should be governed.