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Thursday, December 31, 2015

6 Stupidest Canadian Social Justice Warrior Moments Of 2015!

If there’s one thing Canadian social justice warriors, like SJWs in most countries, have no shortage of it’s anger and stupidity. Sometimes this combination brings hilarious results, other times it’s a toxic mixture that’s dangerous to all Canadians. 2015 was a banner year for SJW stupidity- from the hilariously stupid, to the stupidly dangerous.

Happy New Year's Eve

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Silencing Students: The 8 Most Loathsome Campus Censors of 2015

Every year brings new examples of ruthless college administrators trampling the free expression rights of students and faculty, and 2015 was no different

Monday, December 28, 2015

Scott Reid, MP: Electoral reform must go to a referendum

On Oct. 19, the Liberals were elected on a platform that included dozens of promises, including more than 30 on various aspects of democratic reform.
One of these was the dramatic but vague promise that 2015 would be “the last election conducted under the first past the post system.” The authors of the platform can be forgiven for sacrificing precision for the sake of a punchier-sounding promise.
But the new government really cannot be excused for the assertions that it has since made, that it was given a mandate to unilaterally select a new electoral system in time for the 2019 election.
Here are a few obvious problems with the Liberal assertion that the election gave the new government an unlimited mandate to design the electoral system of their choosing, without giving Canadians the right to say “No.”
First, such a mandate would exist only if every voter who supported the Liberals did so solely because of this one policy. This just obviously wasn’t the case.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Tycooniest - Deborah Friedell reviews Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success by Michael D’Antonio

Tom Sawyer cheats to win a Bible that he doesn’t want. He pretends to have memorised two thousand verses of the New Testament so that he can appear ‘great and conspicuous’. He’s undone when he’s asked to name the first two disciples. When Donald Trump said that the Bible was his favourite book, and then was asked by a reporter to name his favourite verse, he couldn’t lose because he refused to play: ‘I wouldn’t want to get into it because to me that’s very personal. You know, when I talk about the Bible it’s very personal. So I don’t want to get into verses, I don’t want to get into – the Bible means a lot to me, but I don’t want to get into specifics.’ At the moment, Trump claims more support among Evangelical Christians than any other potential candidate for president. Evangelicals like what he has said about abortion (‘I’m very, very pro-life’) and Obamacare (he’s promised to replace it with ‘something terrific’). And they like his assurance that when he’s elected president, God willing, he’ll compel shop assistants to go back to saying ‘Merry Christmas’ instead of ‘Happy Holidays’. But ask Trump’s supporters what they like most about him, and they say it’s the man himself. Like the gossips of St Petersburg, Missouri who think that Tom Sawyer ‘would be president, yet, if he escaped hanging’, they admire his chutzpah.
In 1885, Mark Twain published The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Friedrich Drumpf, apprentice barber, arrived in New York Harbor from the village of Kallstadt in south-west Germany (Donald, who has a lot of Jewish business associates, claims in his memoir that his grandfather was Swedish). Friedrich did well selling horsemeat in the Klondike during the gold rush, running saloons and, very probably, brothels. But he was an alcoholic and died young. His oldest son, Frederick, Donald’s father, went to work as a builder while he was still a teenager. He built his first house in Queens for a little less than $5000, then sold it for $7500. He used the profits to build another house, then another. The buildings were solid enough, but his real genius lay in sussing out tax breaks and abatements, in availing himself of federal programmes that would pay him to keep building houses during the Depression...

Argentina's government is an accessory-after-the-fact to Iran's terrorist mass-murders in Buenos Aires

Newly released wiretap audio finds former Foreign Minister of Argentina Héctor Timerman admitting that the government of Iran “planted the bomb” at the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) headquarters in 1994, the deadliest terror attack in Argentina’s history.

Speaking of the Islamic Republic in the wiretapped audio, Timerman says that “18 years ago, they planted the bomb.” In 2012, Timerman expressed frustration to then-AMIA heads President Guillermo Borger and Vice President José Scaliter that neither leader would accept government talks with Iran. “Tell me who to negotiate with,” Timerman demands of Scaliter. “You are telling me who not to negotiate with; how clever. Who do you want me to negotiate with, then?”

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Rex Murphy: The Liberal government does not have the right to unilaterally change our voting system

The Liberal government does not have the right to change Canada’s voting system without first holding a referendum. The notion that we can fundamentally alter our democracy without subjecting the change to a full public consultation is simply wrong, as voting is not a privilege granted by a political party to the people — it is the people who vest power, for a limited time, in a political party. It is up to the voters to decide how they shall choose which party to give that power to.
Who we choose is inextricably linked to how we make that collective choice. Those who own the ultimate power of choice should not have the boundaries of how they choose set, or the rules governing their choice imposed, from without. Changing the method by which we elect politicians must be consented to by those who elect them — the voters themselves. Voters own the power of choice and the power over the rules by which they make their choice...

Friday, December 25, 2015

If Joseph and Mary tried to reach Bethlehem today, they might get murdered by Palestinian terrorists

How would that carpenter and his pregnant wife have circumnavigated the Kafka­esque network of Israeli settlements, roadblocks and closed military zones in the occupied West Bank? Would Mary have had to experience labour or childbirth at a checkpoint, as one in ten pregnant Palestinian women did between 2000 and 2007?
Well, since Joseph and Mary were Judeans, i.e., Jews, from Nazareth, they wouldn’t need to be afraid of Israeli roadblocks needed to combat Palestinian terrorism, but of being murdered by terrorists from Hamas or Fatah.
Seriously, this sort of historical revisionism, treating ancient Jewish Judeans as if they were Palestinian Arabs, and then analogizing modern Israel to the oppressors of Jesus and his family, a common trope in the UK, would be laughable if it were not  so pernicious...

This Christmas, take heart: Capitalism is saving the world

Did you know that someone dies of malaria every 60 seconds? You may do, if you’ve seen one of the latest Christian Aid posters picturing an African girl staring fearfully at the camera, or a young boy lying on what seems to be his deathbed. They send a powerful Christmas message: while we celebrate in comfort, children are dying for want of a £3 mosquito net. And we could change this, if only we chose to help.

What these adverts don’t tell you, though, is the remarkable extent to which we are helping – and, more importantly, the way in which Africans are helping themselves. Malaria, mankind’s biggest killer, is now retreating faster than at any time since records began.

Earlier this month, the United Nations announced that malaria’s global death toll has more than halved since the turn of the century, saving six million lives. It’s the greatest success story of modern times, yet no one seems interested in telling it...

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Two pictures I took while out and about in the strange world...

Can someone explain this to me?

This establishment is on the far west end of Davenport Road in Toronto. I don't know what a Rehobot is, but if it's a new phase in robotics, then this is the place to come for what may be a popular spare part. Or maybe it's a beauty supply store for the bitchiest women in town.

And as for this, it's a sad state of affairs when James Bond is looking like the bastard love child of a union between Tintin and Pee Wee Herman:

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Photo of plump prisoner Kuntar drives rare Arab praise of Israel

A Facebook post by an Arab journalist comparing the wretched condition of Syrian prisoners with that of well-fed Palestinians serving time in Israel has gone viral, eliciting surprising praise of Israeli practices from across the Arab world.

The side by side photos of an emaciated Syrian in an Assad-regime prison next to the paunchy looking Samir Kuntar leaving an Israeli jail after nearly 30 years were posted by al-Jazeera journalist Faisal al-Qassem following an alleged Israeli airstrike that killed Kuntar in his Lebanon home on Saturday.

“Samir Kuntar left an Israeli prison with a beer belly and a doctorate. At the other extreme, this is how Syrians leave Assad’s prisons,” read the text accompanying the photo...

The Galactic Civil War: A Ken Burns Documentary

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Remind me again about how the west is intolerant and Islamophobic

Anyone found illegally celebrating Christmas in Brunei could face up to five years in prison, according to a reported declaration by the Sultan of the tiny oil-rich state.
Brunei introduced its ban on Christmas last year over fears that celebrating it "excessively and openly" could lead its Muslim population astray.
Christians and others can celebrate Christmas, but must do so in private and have to first alert the authorities.
Local Islamic religious leaders have promoted the ban, warning that adopting the trappings of Christmas is tantamount to imitation of another faith, prohibited in some interpretations of Islam...

Monday, December 21, 2015

Iran Nuclear Deal Restricts U.S. More Than Congress Knew

Members of Congress knew the Iran nuclear deal came with strings attached. They just didn't know how many.
When the administration presented the agreement to Congress, lawmakers were told that new sanctions on Iran would violate the deal. Now the administration is trying to sidestep a recently passed provision to tighten rules on visas for those who have visited Iran.
Since the accord was struck last summer, the U.S. emphasis on complying with its end of the deal has publicly eclipsed its efforts to pressure Iran. In that time, Iranian authorities have detained two American dual nationals and sentenced a third on what most observers say are trumped up espionage charges. Iran's military has conducted two missile tests, one of which the U.N. said violated sanctions, and engaged in a new offensive with Russia in Syria to shore up the country's dictator, Bashar al-Assad...

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Glenn Greenwald: Fascism’s Fellow Traveller

“When Glenn Greenwald castigates the dead Charlie Hebdo cartoonists for racism,” the writer Sam Harris observed recently, “he’s not only proving that he’s a moral imbecile; he’s participating in a global war of ideas over free speech – and he’s on the wrong side of it.”

Back in April, the short story writer Deborah Eisenberg took a rather different view. In her letter to PEN’s executive director Suzanne Nossel, Eisenberg included Greenwald on a shortlist of people she considered worthier of PEN’s annual Freedom of Expression Award for Courage than the dead and surviving Charlie Hebdo staff. Unlike the slain cartoonists, she wrote of her recommendations, “their courage has been fastidiously exercised for the good of humanity.”

All things considered, this was an extravagant claim to make on behalf of Greenwald’s valour and integrity, particularly at Charlie Hebdo’s expense. Greenwald – formerly of Salon and the Guardian and now co-founding editor at Pierre Omidyar’s campaigning blog, the Intercept – is most famous as the journalist to whom rogue NSA employee Edward Snowden leaked a vast cache of national security information before finding sanctuary in Putin’s Russia...

Macaulay Culkin shows you what happened to the Home Alone kid 25 years later

Ontario's criminally incompetent government wants you to donate money to fix their screw-ups

Would you donate your tax refund or write a cheque to defray Ontario’s $298.9 billion net debt? 
...“It’s an unusual thing for someone to do, but I would encourage any Ontarian who wants to make a contribution to feel free to do so,” said Deb Matthews, deputy premier to Kathleen Wynne and chair of the government’s treasury board...

Friday, December 18, 2015

How South Park and Butters' In The Butt set copyright precedent

Michael Petrou: Why Trudeau is lost on the Middle East

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has had almost two months since his election win to craft a sensible response to the question of why he’s withdrawing Canada’s CF-18s (and possibly other aircraft) from the combat mission against the so-called Islamic State. He hasn’t come up with one yet, and didn’t again Wednesday when asked by a member of the public at the Maclean’s Town Hall in Ottawa.
You almost want to sympathize with the guy, because his position—by its own logic—is shot through with contradictions.
Islamic State, he says, must be confronted, including militarily, and Canada must play a role in the fight against it. “The question that we have to ask ourselves, as a government and as a country,” he said during the Maclean’s Town Hall, “is how best can we help.”
Trudeau suggested that training local forces to take the fight to Islamic State is the answer. This is a skill, he said, that Canadian troops honed during 10 years in Afghanistan.
Fair enough, although training is hardly the only thing Canadians did over there. But there’s a strange implication here that Canada can’t do both: bomb Islamic State and train local forces. This, of course, is what Canada has been doing for more than a year. Trudeau added: “We know that Western armies engaged in combat is not necessarily the way to solve the challenges in the Middle East.”
This is a popular trope, but in this case it’s irrelevant. No one is suggesting Canada send an infantry battalion to the frontlines in Syria. The question Trudeau was asked is why he’s pulling out the fighter jets...

Thursday, December 17, 2015

In case there was any remaining doubt that a large number of university students are complete morons

There was a time when you had to be reasonably bright to get into a creditable university.

Today, students at Yale University, one of America's top educational institutions, are signing a petition to repeal the First Amendment. The petition is a spoof but the sincerity and stupidity of those signing it is real:

Obama Administration nixed probe into Southern California jihadists

...Another focus of my investigation was the Pakistani women’s Islamist group al-Huda, which counted Farook’s wife, Tashfeen Malik, as a student. While the al-Huda International Welfare Foundation distanced themselves from the actions of their former pupil, Malik’s classmates told the Daily Mail she changed significantly while studying at al-Huda, gradually becoming “more serious and strict.” More ominously, the group’s presence in the U.S. and Canada is not without its other ties to ISIS and terrorism. In 2014, three recent former students at al-Huda’s affiliate school in Canada, aged 15 to 18, left their homes to join the Islamic State in Syria.
We had these two groups in our sights; if the investigation had continued and additional links been identified and dots connected, we might have given advance warning of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino. The combination of Farook’s involvement with the Dar Al Uloom Al Islamiyah Mosque and Malik’s attendance at al-Huda would have indicated, at minimum, an urgent need for comprehensive screening. It could also have led to denial of Malik’s K-1 visa or possibly gotten Farook placed on the No Fly list.
But after more than six months of research and tracking; over 1,200 law enforcement actions and more than 300 terrorists identified; and a commendation for our efforts; DHS shut down the investigation at the request of the Department of State and DHS’ own Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Division. They claimed that since the Islamist groups in question were not Specially Designated Terrorist Organizations (SDTOs) tracking individuals related to these groups was a violation of the travelers’ civil liberties. These were almost exclusively foreign nationals: When were they granted the civil rights and liberties of American citizens?
Worse still, the administration then went back and erased the dots we were diligently connecting. Even as DHS closed my investigation, I knew that data I was looking at could prove significant to future counterterror efforts and tried to prevent the information from being lost to law enforcement. In 2013, I met with the DHS Inspector General in coordination with several members of Congress to attempt to warn the American people’s elected representatives about the threat.
In retaliation, DHS and the Department of Justice subjected me to a series of investigations and adverse actions, including one by that same Inspector General. None of them showed any wrongdoing; they seemed aimed at stopping me from blowing the whistle on this problem...

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

National Council of Canadian Muslims ordered to provide all documents related to Hamas

On May 26, 2014 the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) has commenced a lawsuit against Stephen Harper, then Prime Minister of Canada, Jason MacDonald, then his Director of Communications, and the Crown for defamation in relation to a media statement made by Mr. MacDonald about the NCCM on January 16, 2014 alleging that NCCM has ties to Hamas.
On December 2, 2015, Judge Liza Sheard ruled in favour of the motion brought by the defendants seeking an order for the plaintiff to deliver a further and better affidavit of documents.
The documents the NCCM is ordered to provide relate to its relationship and dealings with Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), and to decisions, actions or communications by or on behalf of NCCM or its predecessor CAIR-CAN, made or taken by its director and board members relating in any way to any of the organizations identified by the defendants as having ties to Hamas including CAIR, the Muslim Association of Canada, the Jerusalem Fund for Human Services and IRFAN-Canada...

Multiculturalism is a sham, says Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's refugee policy has attracted praise from all over the world. Time magazine and the Financial Times newspaper recently named her Person of the Year, and delegates applauded her for so long at her party's convention on Monday that she had to stop them.

The speech that followed, however, may have surprised supporters of her policies: "Multiculturalism leads to parallel societies and therefore remains a ‘life lie,’ ” or a sham, she said, before adding that Germany may be reaching its limits in terms of accepting more refugees. "The challenge is immense," she said. "We want and we will reduce the number of refugees noticeably."

Although those remarks may seem uncharacteristic of Merkel, she probably would insist that she was not contradicting herself. In fact, she was only repeating a sentiment she first voiced several years ago when she said multiculturalism in Germany had "utterly failed."...

Star Wars Trigger Warnings

Monday, December 14, 2015

The trailer for Star Trek Beyond just came out

It doesn't look very interesting. Producer JJ Abrams put his energy into the new Star Wars movies. Unless they're hiding lots of good content, Star Trek Reboot III looks like a bomb:

Friday, December 11, 2015

A move in the right direction at the TDSB

...Toronto District School Board trustees appointed John Malloy as interim education director on Wednesday. Mr. Malloy, an assistant deputy education minister and former director of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, replaces Donna Quan, who is stepping down after a rocky tenure.

Ms. Sandals described Ms. Quan’s departure as “transformative” for the school board, saying the institution has the new, external leadership it needs...

Kathleen Wynne proposes Ontario citizens should be fitted with nasal implants to detect carbon dioxide emissions for new personal carbon taxes

As part of the Ontario government's plan to fight carbon emissions, Premier Kathleen Wynne has proposed legislation which will require Ontario citizens to have personal carbon dioxide monitors surgically implanted.

"Climate Change is the most urgent issue in the entire history of the universe," Wynne said at her year end speech at Queen's Park yesterday, adding, "unless we take drastic measures, we are headed for a global apocalypse of either warming or cooling, depending on the weather, by 2018 unless my government gets re-elected by then."

To encourage Ontarians to reduce their individual carbon outputs, the new legislation will mandate that every citizen be fitted with a small carbon emissions detector which will be implanted at the base of the nasal cavity. The unit will transmit the level of carbon dioxide exhaled by each person to a government data-capturing system, and personal carbon tax bills will be issued quarterly.

Wynne described the surgical procedure required to implant the monitors as "a minor inconvenience."

"It's a small price to pay in order to save the planet from the impending catastrophe of a climate, which due to man-made causes, changes like the weather and threatens our very survival as a species."

According to Wynne, adults will be retrofitted with the implants as a day-surgery procedure which would require less than two-hours of non-OHIP covered billing. Newborns will be implanted with the devices prior to being allowed to be removed from hospital post natal care and Wynne said the procedure for them would be no more invasive than a circumcision. The comparison irked anti-circumcision activists, who describe themselves as "intactivists."

"We fully support nasal monitors and all measures to save the planet by reducing the amount of carbon people exhale," said Intactivist spokesperson Bartleby Gobknobbler. "But we are outraged that the Premier would try to normalize the severing of the foreskin, which is the most important part of the human body, and are being brutally harvested by Jewish doctors for use by Israel's military in the oppression of Palestinians."

Wynne vehemently denied charges from Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown that the new nasal carbon monitors are a new tax grab by a government which is the largest non-sovereign debtor in the western world. "It was only a matter of time before the desperate, incompetent Wynne government found a way to tax the air," said Brown.

"It is not a tax" Wynne responded when asked about Brown's charges at Queen's Park yesterday. "It's a revenue tool. And it is absolutely not an air tax. The people of Ontario will always be free to inhale as much air as they want under my government. The revenue tool applies exclusively to the carbon dioxide people exhale. My plan will contribute to saving the planet by encouraging the citizens of Ontario to reduce their excessive personal carbon emissions."

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Trudeau government’s arrogant approach to electoral reform

Justin Trudeau wants to impose a system that is less efficient and less democratic in the name of democracy.  Because on of his advisers who does his thinking for him told him it was a good idea: 
...the Trudeau government’s approach displays unprecedented arrogance. Over the past decade, three provincial governments tried to change the voting system in their jurisdiction, but committed to put the question to the people. In Ontario (2007) and British Columbia (2005 and 2009), relatively few citizens participated in the referenda and those who did rejected the proposals. A plebiscite on electoral reform in New Brunswick had been promised for 2008, but was never held as the Progressive Conservative government was defeated. It is worth noting too that the citizens of Great Britain were also asked to consider important changes to their electoral system in 2011. The Labour government’s proposals were also flatly rejected by enormous margins. Why should it be different for the government of Canada?...

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Friday, December 4, 2015

Blowing up the Death Star in Star Wars would have cost more than $500 quintillion, crippled the galaxy

Zachary Feinstein, a financial engineering professor at Washington University in St. Louis, published a 10-page study where he calculated the Empire’s Gross Galactic Product and compared it to the costs of building both Death Stars in Star Wars: A New Hope and Return of the Jedi...

Man dies after tapeworm inside him gets cancer

A Colombian man's lung tumors turned out to have an extremely unusual cause: The rapidly growing masses weren't actually made of human cells, but were from a tapeworm living inside him, according to a report of the case.
This is the first known report of a person becoming sick from cancer cells that developed in a parasite, the researchers said.
"We were amazed when we found this new type of disease — tapewormsgrowing inside a person, essentially getting cancer, that spreads to the person, causing tumors," said study researcher Dr. Atis Muehlenbachs, a staff pathologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Infectious Diseases Pathology Branch (IDPB).
The man had HIV, which weakens the immune system and likely played a role in allowing the development of the parasite cancer, the researchers said. Although the man's case is probably a rare one, the researchers noted that both tapeworms and HIV affect millions of people worldwide, "so there may be more cases that are unrecognized...

Canada under the Trudeau Jr. Liberals - get used to your money paying for their perks

Justin Trudeau is a hypocrite who said he didn't need government money to pay for his children's care while using government money to pay for his children's care.

But that's peanuts compared to the billions he's going to spend on perks and waste now that he and the old, greedy, corrupt gang of Liberals, who believe they are entitled to power and privilege,  now have access to your money:

Canada sent 383 people to the UN climate conference, more than Australia, the U.K. and U.S. together

The massive Canadian contingent at the UN climate-change conference in Paris was originally estimated at 350 people, but it appears the trans-Atlantic road trip has expanded.
The “provisional list of participants” just released by the UN has an amazing 383 names from Canada, ranking us among the largest entourages in the entire confab.
Don’t nitpick over the newly bloated number, as it’s understandable some jet-setting bureaucrats may have been initially overlooked during such a busy travel period.
If you’ve ever seen the classic Christmas film “Home Alone” you’ll know how easy it is to get the head count wrong during a mad dash to Paris.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Ontario Liberals’ power regime a fiasco

At least now it must be seen as official: Ontario’s electricity regime is a gargantuan fiasco, a dysfunctional, overpriced, mismanaged system that for most of the last decade has been abandoned to the provincial Liberals’ gross incompetence and deliberate abuse of governance.

In strong language and clear analysis leading to straight-shooting conclusions, Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk has delivered one of the most devastating audit reports on government bungling and malpractice in Canadian history.

Ontario consumers and small business owners already know the hard fact: the cost of electricity has almost doubled under the McGuinty/Wynne regimes, from 5.32 cents per kilowatt hour to 10.10 cents, with many more increases to come...

Fascists at University of Windsor's attempt to shut down talk by Bedouin Israeli diplomat

The so-called Palestinian solidarity movement is a euphemism for genocidal fascism. The Palestinian leadership has made it clear they will not allow Jews to live in Palestine, whereas Israel's population is 20% Arab Muslim who have full voting rights. The Charter of the Palestinian government of Gaza calls for the extermination of Jews, and both the Hamas government in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, as well as Palestinian NGO's routinely use Nazi-style anti-Semitic incitement in its official media. Yet the Palestinian fascist movement's propaganda calls Israel "an apartheid state."

These disgusting people also believe they have a right to decide what other people are and are not allowed to hear and think, and in typical fascist tradition will try to intimidate anyone they oppose:

...Khaldi was about 10 minutes into his presentation when the protest began.

“He didn’t get into anything political. He started off by saying that protesting an event like his is a waste of time, saying, ‘I’m not a politician, I’m just here to share my experience and my story.’ He gave a few examples of the things he’s trying to do to foster peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” Sher said.

In a video uploaded to the Palestinian Solidarity Group’s Facebook page, the protesters can be seen interrupting Khaldi by standing in their seats and taking turns shouting slogans at Khaldi...

In their words:
"...He came to our campus to speak about minority rights in Israel (as if those exist), and we as pro-Palestinians refused to allow a Zionist to lead the discussion on such a topic. After we left we held a talk outside the room to dicuss what is really happening in Israel, and opened the floor to intersolidarity. The pro-Palestinian voice is in charge of leading the discussions on Palestinian human rights on our campus, not Zionists." 
Posted by University of Windsor Palestinian Solidarity Group on Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

There’s a mathematical model to predict how funny a word is

A fizza-ma-wizza-ma-dill is the shizzle.

Dr. Seuss and Snoop Dogg have more than just a permanent smirk in common—they are both liberal employers of made-up words that use the uncommon letter “z.” And, as a new study shows, there may be a reason such words make us giggle.

According to the study, which will be published in the January 2016 issue of Journal of Memory and Language, some words are reliably much sillier than other words, and one reason is that they use improbable letters.

Psychologists and linguists from the University of Alberta in Canada and the University of Tübingen in Germany showed over 900 participants a total of 6000 made-up words designed to sound close to real, pronounceable words to determine which strings were deemed reliably funnier....

Turkey has become a 5th column in NATO

It's been an open secret for over a year that the Turkish government headed by Recip Erdogan had been aiding ISIS through oil purchases and facilitating entry of jihadists into Iraq and Syria to fight for the Islamic State. A shared antipathy for the Kurds with ISIS and Turkish President Erdogan's Islamist beliefs, have made Turkey, while it plays both sides of the conflict with ISIS, effectively a 5th column within NATO.
Russia’s defense ministry said on Wednesday it had proof that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his family were benefiting from the illegal smuggling of oil from Islamic State-held territory in Syria and Iraq.

Moscow and Ankara have been locked in a war of words since last week when a Turkish air force jet shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian-Turkish border, the most serious incident between Russia and a NATO state in half a century.

Erdogan ressponded by saying no one had the right to “slander” Turkey by accusing it of buying oil from Islamic State, and that he would stand down if such allegations were proven to be true. But speaking during a visit to Qatar, he also said he did not want relations with Moscow to worsen further.

At a briefing in Moscow, defense ministry officials displayed satellite images which they said showed columns of tanker trucks loading with oil at installations controlled by Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, and then crossing the border into neighboring Turkey.

The officials did not specify what direct evidence they had of the involvement of Erdogan and his family, an allegation that the Turkish president has vehemently denied...

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Jeremy Corbyn has made Labour unelectable

Jeremy Corbyn is seen as an unpopular leader across almost all demographic groups and leads a party whose voters are increasingly out of step with majority opinion in the country.

Since the election, Labour has attracted voters from two main sources: the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, many of whom hold views on immigration, defence, welfare and patriotism that are at odds with public opinion.

At the same time, Labour has retained only two-thirds of its own voters, according to a YouGov poll...

Mysterious Corpse-Filled 'Ghost Ships' Found Drifting Off Japan

Nearly a dozen wooden boats carrying decomposing bodies have been found in the waters off the coast of Japan over the past two months.

Inside the 11 vessels were at least 25 bodies, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK. Two bodies were headless, and one boat contained six skulls, Singapore's Straits Times newspaper reported, citing the Japanese Coast Guard. The poor condition of the remains suggested that the boats had been adrift for some time, the paper said.

One of the boats had a tattered banner that looked like it could have been part of a North Korean flag. The boat also had a board with Hangul words that said "Korean People's Army," which is the name of the armed forces in North Korea.

A maritime expert said the ships looked like those used by defectors from North Korea...

Ted Cruz: Most violent felons are Democrats

Washington (CNN)Texas Sen. Ted Cruz claimed Monday during a radio appearance that "the overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats."
The Republican presidential contender told radio host Hugh Hewitt that Democrats -- aided by a "salivating" media -- attempt to use mass killings to damage conservatives politically.
    His comments came as Cruz discussed the shootings at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado -- which Democrats have followed with calls for the GOP to stop denouncing the organization and pushing for its defunding on Capitol Hill.
    "Every time you have some sort of violent crime or mass killing, you could almost see the media salivating, hoping desperately that the murderer happens to be a Republican so they can use it to try to paint their political enemies," Cruz said.
    He continued: "Now, listen, here's the simple and undeniable facts: The overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats. The media doesn't report that."...

    Monday, November 30, 2015

    Toronto's notorious "Islamophobia" case turns out to be something else entirely

    It's not Islamophobia when two hijab-wearing women get called terrorists after they call a couple of black kids "monkeys." But Toronto is a city filled with people anxious to signal how "progressive" and virtuous they are, as long as it doesn't involve thinking, or any more real work than posting on social media. So it's little wonder that they lapped up an opportunity to be manipulated.

    Insulting Muslims for who they are is vile. But there are some activists within the Islamic community who want the religion of Jihad to be perceived as a perpetual victim, even when it initiates violence and oppression. So little PR stunts like the one we saw in Toronto are not totally uncommon.

    Despite all we hear about the dire state of Islamophobia, it is a vastly exaggerated phenomenon in Canada. Statistics Canada indicates that blacks are more than five times as likely to be the victims of hate crimes than Arabs, and that hate crimes against Jews are three times the number of hate crimes against Muslims. That statistic is all the more striking considering there are almost four times as many Muslims in Canada as there are Jews.  Odd how we never hear about these figures in the media.

    Considering that Muslim-majority countries in the middle east are notoriously anti-Semitic and racist towards blacks, we may see these trends increase along with Canada's new cultural dynamic.

    Funny how reality and the media narrative frequently don't line up, isn't it?

    Charts from Statistics Canada

    Sunday, November 29, 2015

    Oh, Henry! Kissinger finds his chronicler

    This attentive, magnificently written, and profoundly researched biography of Henry Kissinger before he took office is stunningly good, and stuns as much for what it does not say as what it does. Earlier Kissinger biographers have tried to comprehend him, not quite in order to forgive his crimes but to share with others—usually Adolf Hitler—the blame for them. Hitler stung Kissinger at a tender age into his amoral realism, and caused him to lure us into a foreign policy that history has proved was unnecessary. Walter Isaacson’s 1992 biography ends with the triumph of the West in the Cold War in spite of realpolitik. Kissinger’s machinations came to naught because the Cold War was more like a TED conference than a life-and-death struggle: Victory came to us because our values “eventually proved more attractive.”...
    Niall Ferguson is 15 years younger than the midcentury baby boomers like Isaacson, Christopher Hitchens, and me, whose fathers were Kissinger’s contemporaries. Facing not an effortless Cold War victory but a victory squandered, Ferguson is free of the presupposition that both he and his reader are Kissinger’s moral superiors. Instead, using Kissinger’s thought and early career as his vantage point, Ferguson writes a marvelously capacious and dramatic history of American foreign policy during the Cold War’s first generation...

    Pompeo, Cotton Poke More Holes in Iran Nuke Deal

    Rep. Mike Pompeo (R – Kan.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R – Ark.) have a lot in common. Both are army veterans and both are graduates of Harvard Law School. And both have been doing a great job of exposing aspects of the nuclear deal with Iran that the administration would rather keep quiet.

    This week it was reported that an inquiry from Pompeo got the State Department to admit that the nuclear deal was never signed and is not “legally binding.”...

    Saturday, November 28, 2015

    Not Criminally Responsible: The case for forensic psychiatry in reintegrating people with mental illnesses

                         My new piece for The Walrus:

    IN SEPTEMBER, a forensic-psychiatry patient at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health absconded during a scheduled outing. Thomas Brailsford had been found not criminally responsible for cutting off his mother’s head in 2010, so the news of his escape created, to put it mildly, some apprehension among the public.

    During the twenty-four hours or so Brailsford was on the loose, media sensationalizing transformed Toronto into a modern-day Sleepy Hollow, with panicked Ichabod Cranes trying to evade a ghoulish headhunter. Quite naturally, many people wondered why Brailsford was left in a position where he could so easily vanish—it was the second time he’d gone AWOL from the centre within twelve months.

    In the decade I worked at CAMH and its predecessor, the Queen Street Mental Health Centre, up until 2004, I saw some of the workings and causes of this type of dilemma...

    Thursday, November 26, 2015

    The New York Times has it wrong - there are plenty of powerful women in Hollywood and it's not sexism that's keeping them out

    Maureen Dowd's "The Women in Hollywood Speak Out" article in The New York Times asserts that pervasive sexism is preventing women from directing blockbusters and running studios.

    There may be a very small element of truth in that, but the crux of the article suggests both a lack of understanding about how Hollywood works and a pretty large heap of sour grapes.

    In the first place, there are lots of women in powerful positions in Hollywood. Sherry Lansing ran Paramount for years, there are big time women producers cluttering Hollywood. I know some of these women, and they are very good at what they do, which is why they were able to be in a position to do it.

    The main thing to remember about Hollywood is that despite the not entirely unfair caricature of Hollywood being filled with horny old men who get into show business to bed sexy young actresses, these days, that's mostly a sleazy fringe of a major industry. Hollywood's movie business is a business. Like any other business, money and good PR drive it. Studios are actually looking for more women directors because they know it reflects well on the organization. But, despite Hollywood's big players liking to look like they're vanguard of progressivism,  they're actually quite conservative when it comes to their business ledgers. No studio head is going to hand a $300 million budget to a director unless there's a high level of confidence that the investment will turn into a profit.

    And the fact is, there aren't few women directors who have demonstrated that they can generate those kinds of revenues with their films. Hollywood is also not a place where a lot of original thought occurs on the whole. There are some brilliant visionaries there, and many of them are women. But as in any other field, most people have average capabilities and follow trends. When I worked at a major Hollywood production company, people occasionally asked me whether the lack of female directors was due to sexism. My response was to say that if a duckbill platypus directed a movie that had an $80 Million box office weekend, you can bet your life that on Monday, there would be planeloads of Hollywood executives flying to Australia to try to sign the first duckbill platypus they see to a directing contract.

    Women tend to make movies that appeal to women's sensibilities. That's great, but the money is in watching aliens from outer space trying to annihilate the Earth and having comic book superheroes save us from certain death.

    Indicative of Dowd's article, and demonstrative of my point, is this complaint from Leslye Headland:
    Headland made this fall’s ‘‘Sleeping With Other People,’’ a raunchy rom-com starring Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie, in 25 days for $5 million from a script she drafted in two weeks, chronicling her obsession with a ‘‘lame’’ ex-boyfriend. ‘‘Quentin Tarantino can make ‘Pulp Fiction’ for $8 million and you can slap him on any magazine,’’ Headland said. ‘‘He’s the poster boy. He was for me. I want to be that guy even though he looks like a foot. God bless him, and he can do whatever he wants to my feet. But with a female director, you’re just not celebrated the same way.’’
    Pulp Fiction was a huge hit that revitalized the careers of Bruce Willis and John Travolta, made stars out of Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman, and inspired dozens of imitations and iconic cultural touchstones, like Jackson and Travolta's conversation about "the Royale with Cheese, " and "bring up the Gimp." Most people have never heard of Sleeping With Other People, and fewer still have seen it or could name anything memorable about it.

    Pulp Fiction grossed $213 million dollars on an $8 million dollar budget in 1994. Sleeping With Other People grossed $814 thousand on a $5 million budget in 2015. You don't have to have to be an expert in either economics or gender studies to figure out that the reason Pulp Fiction's director Quentin Tarantino is celebrated and Sleeping With Other People's director Leslye Headland is not has nothing to do with sexism.

    Track record matters in Hollywood. You don't just get to walk into a studio and have them hand you the next Spiderman or Star Wars. You have to show them you could make a successful action movie on a much smaller scale. And the idea of men being able to walk in and be handed a big budget project by mere virtue of their sex is preposterous. It's not a competition between men and women. It's a competition between a director and every other director in the business, male or female. If women want to have more power in Hollywood, then they're going to have to do it the old fashioned way, by working their way up and showing they can do the job. Those women who can make money for a studio will have no trouble getting more responsibility and power in a town that only loves winners.