2015-03-29

"Not"ley anybody's idea of a good budget

Rachel Notley has no right to criticize this week's provincial budget.

Oh, I know she's criticizing it. But she has no right to do so, and should shut up immediately.

She wanted tax hikes? She got tax hikes. She wanted protection for the overpriced wages collected by her corrupt and lazy union friends? She got it.

This is her budget. This is a Rachel Notley budget. This is a far-left, "taxpayer money belongs to the government" mindset budget, that abolishes the flat and fair taxation system in favour of punitive class warfare dribble.

That's the NDP's calling card, so the next time Notley opens her mouth about the budget, make her close it.

2015-03-28

Human Achievement Hour

Tonight is "Earth Hour", the misguided Marxist bit of enviro-nonsense by which people who have achieved great things become ashamed that their lives are so good, and decide to live in darkness and fear like their lost great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents did.

There's a lot of ink spilled by the foolish promoters of this cause this time of year, and a prime example comes courtesy the Deccan Herald in India.

What began as a local lights out event in Sydney in 2007 has since spread to 7,000 cities and 162 countries. Now called Earth Hour, the event on March 28 implies voluntary switching off of lights for one hour that day starting 8.30 pm local time everywhere. Not that this will translate into huge sustained savings but what this aims to do is focus attention on the deleterious effects of global warming and the urgent need to adopt a sustain-able model of development.
Not that this will translate into huge sustained savings, or small sustained savings, or even small sporadic savings. So sure, none of what its promoters claim the event is intended to motivate actually occur, but you feel like you're helping, and isn't that enough?

Well, no, of course it isn't, but that's the sort of critical thinking skills that are notoriously absent in the minds of those who promote or participate in Earth Hour. These are the same folks who think there is an "urgent need to adopt sustainable development" (there isn't)
Fossil fuels are the closest to running out of supply, though it may take a few more generations to happen.
Now we're up to a few more generations???? Remember when the planet's danger was "imminent" and fossil fuels would run out by the 80s? Now even the environmentalists concede we have generations left to use oil gas and coal!
The switching off of electricity, in a sense, also shows a feeling of empathy towards those people and countries which to this day do not have enough electricity and are forced to live a large part of their lives in darkness. In other words, it is an attempt to sensitise millions of people, especially in affluent countries, of the struggles their brethren in poorer nations have to experience every day.
You might somewhere find a few Earth Hour devotees flogging this dead horse, but not many. We can't be in sympathy with them while we're striving to emulate the horrible conditions in which they live.

Just compare this claptrap...
The involvement of civil society, NGOs and governments for a common cause has made Earth Hour a programme a huge promise, one that can even arrest the negative changes to the world’s climate. Sounds ambitious, but then, that is the potential of Earth Hour.
...with the immortal words of Ross McKitrick (narrated by Rush Limbaugh)


For an hour tonight, do what I and Kurn and so many others are doing: turn on all your lights to celebrate Human Achievement Hour.

Safe Injection Sites

Woman Sentenced for Illegal Butt Injections has to be one of the crazier non-British headlines you'll encounter.

Of course, things get even crazier when you get to the defense argument:

Defence lawyer Calvin Barry said Reid was born in Venezuela with both male and female genitalia. Despite surgery to correct the condition by her fifth birthday, she suffered throughout her life.

A pre-sentence report indicated Reid was giving her crime proceeds to her abusive, drug-addicted lover, who was living outside Ontario.
Leaving the gender of the lover out of the report is almost certainly intentional, not accidental.

Toronto to Vancouver VIA a hole in the ground

If you look into the Edmonton to Vancouver website for VIA Rail (also the Toronto-Vancouver, Winnipeg-Toronto, etc.) you'll see a list of the stations, including a quick description and photo for the main ones.

Notice anything funny about them? Let's look at the four stations at the top of the page first. Toronto shows the massive pillars on the south face of Union Station (the ones that have been undergoing renovation since 1996 or so, true, but they're there). Vancouver gives us a night view of the neoclassical Pacific Central station across Thornton Park. Winnipeg shows off their Union Station as well (fewer pillars, but a more imposing view and naturally a very large building befitting Winnipeg's "far west outpost" status of 1908 when it was built). Saskatoon doesn't quite have the grandeur of Winnipeg's station, being a modernist style built in the 60s, but they show it as well.


Let's cut ahead to Jasper's railway station, the giant 1926-built structure, which is shown pictured against the spectacular mountain vistas that Jasper is known for.


Finally, let's take a look at Edmonton. The City of Champions. "Gateway to the North". What's the view they've taken of Edmonton's VIA Rail station? For those who don't know, the Edmonton VIA Rail station is right by the Edmonton City Centre airport -- it's why the Envision Edmonton group observed that if we had a fully functioning passenger airport there, and moved the Greyhound station from downtown (a move that the Edmonton arena project will mandate in 2016 anyways) to near the VIA station (which is also looking likely as the new home anyways) we'd have a decent transportation hub close to downtown, especially if the LRT was left underground and stopped there. So what's the station look like?


Oh....that good, eh? Okay, probably for the best. If you go and check the actual VIA rail station in Edmonton...the result is...not pretty.

Befitting the last time we investigated this, there are no northern railway departures from Edmonton.

Ah well, at least we're better than the one in Evansburg!

2015-03-26

La perfide Albion

The legendary Thomas Sowell recently compared Benjamin Netanyahu to Winston Churchill.

The only other person to address a joint session of Congress three times was the legendary British prime minister, Winston Churchill.

The parallels between the two leaders do not end there. Both warned the world of mortal dangers that others ignored, in hopes that those dangers would go away. In the years leading up to World War II, Churchill tried to warn the British, and the democratic nations in general, of what a monstrous threat Hitler was.
Far be it for me to lecture Sowell on...well, pretty much anything...but the comparison isn't perfect. Mark Steyn warned that Netanyahu may become Churchill in 1945, but last night Netanyahu surged for a win in the Israeli national elections.

The win was also another blow to the reputation of polling firms, which showed an extremely close race even in the exit polls, which they then had to backtrack on when the results weren't even remotely similar.

There are, of course, other differences as well. Churchill didn't have to deal with a racial element in his warnings: this was basically one Ehrenarier telling people that another Ehrenarier was wicked and wished to make war. Unfortunately, Netanyahu (who's as far from Aryan -- real or feigned -- as can be possible) is in the position where the wicked men who want to make war against him are all Arabs. In these days of ridiculous race-nonsense pushed on us by the left this leaves the Israelis with a baggage that didn't remotely bother the British ("Hun" talk notwithstanding). Whenever Netanyahu warns his people about dark forces on the horizon, they're literally dark forces on the horizon! This lets the left do their favourite thing on the planet: label somebody a "hater" and then instantly use that fact to discredit their words and actions, even if they end up being totally correct. (A phenomenon that I'm well familiar with, as a quick glance of my Twitter mentions will instantly tell you).

Not to put too fine a point on it, though, but Netanyahu's evildoers still aren't quite in the same class as Churchill's. Great heros need great villains (a topic which is bothering people this week), and Churchill had one of the best. Netanyahu doesn't, not really, and while its certainly not his fault that he doesn't have a bigger military to have to stare down at a greater risk (nor, all but the most vehement anti-Netanyahu folks would acknowledge, something he or Sowell was wishing for), it also means you can't take too much from a Netanyahu-Churchill perspective: certainly not as much as Sowell is trying to here. Also, as has been discussed before, Churchill had no blueprint to work off of: he could hardly point back to Prime Minister Pelham-Holles and say "he stood up to Maximilian III Joseph". This was uncharted territory in the 1930s. Not so today, especially considering the very different situation between 1925 in the UK and 2015 in Israel. A better blueprint for Netanyahu would be the Oslo "Peace" Accords. As you may know, despite claims that Norway was a "Israeli lap dog", Israel came out of the Peace Accords with a completely useless agreement. The PLO violated them before the ink was dry which would have given Israel all the moral authority they needed to wipe the "Palestinian authoruty" off the map forever. (After all, useful idiots like Avi Shlaim were going to be upset no matter what Netanyahu does)

To link back to the Sowell piece, a paper document like what President Monkey has been chasing in Iran generally isn't worth the paper it's printed on.
Just recently, a State Department official in the Obama administration said that Americans have remained safe in a nuclear age, not because of our own nuclear arsenal but because “we created an intricate and essential system of treaties, laws, and agreements.”

If “treaties, laws, and agreements” produced peace, there would never have been a Second World War. The years leading up to that monumental catastrophe were filled with international treaties and arms control agreements.
Arafat was a liar, a terrorist, and a bad person to enter into good-faith negotiations with. Anybody who disagrees with this probably is dumb enough to also believe it isn't also true of terrorists like Ali Khamenei or Hassan Rouhani.

Sowell points out that standing armies, and threats of military intervention, are what keeps these wicked men under control. Assholes, as it were, fear getting fucked by dicks. It's reminiscint of the scene in Star Trek: Insurrection where Riker is being attacked by Sona ships using dangerous and illegal subspace weaponry.
PERIM: I thought subspace weapons were banned by the Khitomer Accord.
RIKER: Remind me to lodge a protest.
You can file a protest (the Chamberlain method) or you can build a war machine to wipe your enemies off the map (the Hitler method). If there's a middle ground somewhere, history has yet to find it. Of course, history is of no interest to President Monkey, a small-minded and arrogant son-of-a-bitch who thinks that history, as much as he acknowledges it exists at all, exists to cause "ignorant" people reasons to laugh at or denounce his ridiculous policies. To him and his far-left ilk, history is simply an unfortunate world in which right-wing and British/American policies are demonstrated to be true and better time and time again.

If there is another way, the answer may -- surprise surprise -- also come from Star Trek. Read the Chekov stories in this novel for a clue.

Thomas Sowell knows better. Benjamin Netanyahu knows better. President Monkey doesn't. And that's why only two of them are worth ever listening to about foreign policy.

#TimmyHosRaceConversations

Recently Starbucks has tried to "introduce race conversations" into their coffee transactions, from writing #RaceTogether on cups (which conservatives have shamed them into giving up) to handing out little surveys to try and white-guilt their liberal customer base.

So far, this is only happening in the chain's U.S. stores, it hasn't come to Canada. Of course, Canada already has a venerable coffee-selling institution: Tim Horton's. So what happened if Timmys started handing out surveys too? I have a sample survey below. (click to view full-sized)

2015-03-25

What's My Goal Again?

The 2014-2015 season is winding down, and since the Oilers are such a humiliating disaster that they can't even figure out how to lose properly, I figure now's a great time to change the subject.

So, uh, hey, how about that goal differential?

Goal differential, for those who don't know already, is just the difference between goals-for and goals-against. Before Corsi and Fenwick were all the rage, it was how amateur sabremeticians in the hockey world evaluated whether or not a team was getting the standings points it "deserved". In general, a high goal differential spells success. Here's a quick chart of the goal differential per team. The teams are arranged based on their current point in the league standings.


(Since the season isn't over yet, you could be pedantic and insist that goal differential be normalized to account for variations in games played to date. It looks almost exactly the same, calm down)

So having said that, let's (temporarily) ignore the standings and just look at goal differential as if that was the be-all and end-all of the hockey world. These teams fairly nicely break up into groups, so let's take a look at them.

Group A: The crème de la crème:
This group has some of the top ranked teams in the league with the NY Rangers (2, +52), Tampa (4,+51), St. Louis (3,+44) and Chicago (7,+43). You may notice that there's a decent dropoff between the top two and bottom two teams within this tier as well. The Rangers seem to have come out of nowhere to reclaim top spot in the standings, and now we see why. St. Louis and Chicago are the midwest powerhouses, and Tampa Bay has been putting together a solid little run partly due to their insanely good home record: their the only team to have 30 home wins so far.

Group B: These guys are good:
Our second group features Montreal (1,+33), Nashville (6,+33), Washington (13,+32) and Minnesota (10,+28). Montreal has the freakish Carey Price to thank for their win-loss record, and we see another piece of evidence that the first overall team isn't really that first overall (their Fenwick-close, of course, being the main one). Nashville had that amazing start to the season that's cooled off but still left them as a top team), and both Washington and Minnesota score rather well here given their position in the standings -- particularly Washington in the weakling eastern division. Minnesota, of course, has Devan Dubnyk to thank for their ability to sneak up with a mediocre differential.

Group C: If this was higher, we wouldn't fret about making the playoffs:
This group features Calgary (15,+23), Ottawa (17,+22), Brooklyn (8,+21), and Pittsburgh (9,+21). With the exception of Calgary, the freaky weird nobody believes they belong here band of misfits, these numbers you think should have these guys nimbly holding onto a playoff spot, which of course these all are.

Group D: We don't play like we're supposed to:
Group D brings us some of the 2014-2015 NHL misfits. Let's introduce Vancouver (12,+16), LA (16,+14), Detroit (11,+13), Winnipeg (14,+12), and Anaheim (5,+8). Vancouver and Detroit have been sorta-strong performers in their conferences all year with Vancouver and Calgary oddly doing a dance together in the standings since about November 20th. Detroit and Winnipeg are the strong "whoa, who knew they would be this going" teams for their respective conferences, and here's the LA Kings pretending to run with the big boys as they looked poised to, beleive it or not, actually miss the playoffs. Add in the other weirdo California team in Anaheim, who has parlayed a historic run of skiluk (a word I just made up because nobody is sure if its skill or luck) involving their record in one-goal games.

Group E: Wait, you are supposed to score more than the other team?
Next up are Boston (18,+3), Dallas (19,-5), San Jose (22,-5), and Colorado (21,-8). All of them are pretty close to even-steven in the goal differential department, and all of them are having what could charitably be described as disappointing seasons. Boston and Dallas were expected to run roughshod over their competition this season, and that just hasn't panned out mostly due to troubles between the pipes. The other other weirdo California team, the perpetually Captain-less San Jose Sharks, need to win six of their next nine just to pass where Winnipeg holds down the last wild card spot today. Colorado, meanwhile, continues the "no, Patrick Roy isn't the greatest coach in history" season in earnest.

Group F: Keeping their fingers crossed for the Draft Lottery:
Okay, now we're really descending rapidly into the basement. After Colorado comes a 13 goal dropoff to our next group which is Florida (20,-21), New Jersey (24,-22), Philadelphia (23,-23), Columbus (25,-30), and Carolina (-26,-34). All of these eastern conference teams are just flat out bad, and in need of serious repairs going into next season. Florida didn't quite get the performance out of Roberto Luongo they had hoped for: he sits ranked 14th in goaltenders SV% which isn't what you pay his contract out for. New Jersey, meanwhile, is getting everything out of Lou's old teammate Corey Schneider they asked for (he's 3rd in SV% behind Carey Price and Devan *spit* Dubnyk). Now if only they could score a goal from time to time.

Are you allowed to refer to one of these goalies now without mentioning the other one? I don't think so: regardless, their stories match up pretty well.

Group G: Just plain fucking terrible:
This group has only one member: the Toronto Maple Leafs (27,-44). Their goal differential is as far away from Boston's as Boston's is from the New York Rangers.

Group H: Absolutely fucking terrible:
Again, only one member in this group: the goal differntial difference between the Edmonton Oilers (28,-78) and the Winnipeg Jets is so huge, that if Toronto had that extra 90 goals on the season they'd be third in the league behind New York and Tampa Bay.

Group I: Unbelievably terrible. Like, cartoonishly terrible:
And they keep getting even worse! Welcome to Phoenix (29,-92), the other team to give away Devan Dubnyk, and it shows.

Group J: Every night I masturbate dreaming I was as good as Edmonton:
Finally, the group where Group I seems a dreamy pie-in-the-sky achievement. Buffalo (30,-107) is further behind Toronto than Dallas is behind Minnesota and Calgary combined. Buffalo is on par to have a -120 goal differential by the end of the season. The bottom of the league doesn't break into categories easily, since the distances just get more and more vast. But here Buffalo sits.

Enjoy either McDavid or Eichel, my friends. You totally deserve it.

2015-03-19

Leeds

The worst thing? This is probably ranked somewhere around 53,310 in the list of weird British things you'll find with a map.

2015-03-18

A Kingly Gift

Was "Colonel" "Tom Parker", the famous manager of Elvis Presley, a murderer on the run?

The Smithsonian makes a pretty convincing case.

2015-03-17

Happy St. Patrick's Day

2015-03-16

Lest We Forget...

The Harper Conservatives, let's all remember, are about to be wiped out in Edmonton due to their failure to secure Expo funding.

Hey, remember Expo? That's that big expensive event that probably would get 1/100th the coverage of Crashed Ice.

Don't forget to bookmark this post so that after the next federal election (likely later this year) we can test Paul Marck's genius theory.

2015-03-15

Developing story: Boeing 777 needs fuel to fly


A report into the "missing plane" from last year has been completed and an interim copy released.

The biggest bombshell? The great expense in hunting for the plane's locator was all for naught: the battery expired a year before the plane even took off.

You can read the actual report here, if you don't want to read through media (or my) reports.

I haven't really written about this stupid plane before: when it was the big worldwide story last year I didn't pay it a lot of attention. I knew the basics, which the report covers fairly nicely (if a bit technical, for those who don't remember playing Flight Simulator back in the day).
The disappearance of the radar position symbol of MH370 was captured by the KL ATCC radar at time 1721:13 UTC [0121:13 MYT]. Military radar and radar sources from two other countries, namely Vietnam and Thailand, also captured the disappearance of the radar position symbol of MH370 at about the same time.
This would be the infamous disappearance of the plane. At first blush, this would have seemed to be where the plane went down, but of course we know now that the story was much more complicated.
At 1721:13 UTC [0121:13 MYT] the Military radar showed the radar return of MH370 turning right but almost immediately making a constant left turn to a South Westerly direction.
At 1730:35 UTC [0130:35 MYT] to 1735UTC [0135 MYT] the radar return was on heading 231 magnetic (M), ground speed of 496 knots (kt.) and registered height of 35,700 ft.
At 1736 UTC [0136 MYT to 1736:40 UTC [0136:40 MYT] heading was 237M, ground speed fluctuation between 494 and 525 kt. and height fluctuation between 31,100 and 33,000 ft.
At 1739:59 UTC [0139:59 MYT] heading was 244M, ground speed 529 kt. and height at 32,800 ft.
At 1752:35 UTC [0152:35 MYT] radar return was observed to be slightly south of Penang Island.
It was noted by the Investigation Team that the position and heading of the radar return from both Civilian and Military Radar, suggested that it was from the same target.
After the last radar return disappeared from KL ATCC Primary Radar at 1752:35 UTC [0152:35 MYT], the Military Radar continued to track this radar return as it headed towards Pulau Perak, a small island over the Straits of Malacca. The time registered over Pulau Perak was 1802:59 UTC [0202:59].
The tracking by the Military continued as the radar return was observed to be heading towards waypoint MEKAR, a waypoint on Airways N571 when it disappeared abruptly at 1822:12 UTC [0222:12 MYT],10 nautical miles (Nm) after waypoint MEKAR.
This would be the various military radars catching MH370 after its transponder was turned off and the plane "went dark". About this same time, the plane began jigging and assumed a new course, likely the southward route that led it deep into the Indian Ocean.

The report doesn't refer at all to some of the issues suspected with the pilot, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah. From the report:
The Captain’s ability to handle stress at work and home was good. There was no known history of apathy, anxiety, or irritability. There were no significant changes in his life style, interpersonal conflict or family stresses.
Versus reports in the New Zealand Herland and the NY Daily News:
But Shah was also seeing another woman — and that relationship was reportedly also in trouble, the friend said.

Investigators looking into the mysterious disappearance of the Beijing-bound Boeing 777 on March 8 are looking into the possibility that a suicidal Shah deliberately veered the plane off course at sent it hurtling into the Indian Ocean
It's unclear whether the report even is authorized to look into the details: the heading for this information is "Factual Information" and may, since the report isn't supposed to assign blame, be less interested in lurid details of the pilot's personal life. The report did note:
On studying the Captain’s behavioural pattern on CCTV recordings on the day of the flight and prior 3 flights there was no significant behavioural changes observed. On all the CCTV recordings the appearance was similar, i.e. well groomed and attired. The gait, posture, facial expressions and mannerism were his normal characteristics.
The plane is, as you might have expected, in good condition. There was a minor collision in Shanghai back in 2012, which was the only incident report filed against the vehicle.
A review of the Mandatory Occurrence Reports (MORs) for the B777 fleet raised by the Engineering & Maintenance Quality Assurance Department of MAS revealed that only one was raised for 9M-MRO, and this was related to the right wing tip damage stated above. A total of 77 MORs were raised for the MAS fleet of 17 B777 aircraft. MORs raised by the Quality Assurance department are primarily related to technical issues with the fleet. The average age of the B777 fleet as of 01 March 2014 was 14.35 years. 9M-MRO was 11.75 years old.
The report notes an interesting fact about the Emergency Locator beacons installed on modern aircraft:
A review of ICAO accident records over the last 30 years indicates that of the 257 accidents, only 39 cases recorded effective ELT activation. ELTs were carried in 173 of these cases. This implies that of the total accidents in which ELTs were carried, only 22.5% of the ELTs operated effectively
MH-370 had four ELTs installed: one in the roof of the aft passenger compartment, one portable one in a closet in the forward cabin, and two ELTs on two of the slides that turn into rafts in those cool graphics on the safety card you never look at anymore. The batteries for these ELTs were all good with expiration dates in November 2014 or later, for all the good they would do.
Even when the beacon and its antenna are functioning properly, signals may not be adequately transmitted to the Cospas-Sarsat satellites because of physical blockage from aircraft debris obstructing the beacon antenna or when the antenna is under water
The Cospas-Sarsat system does not provide a complete coverage of the earth at all times. As a consequence, beacons located outside the areas covered by these satellites at a given moment cannot be immediately detected, and must continue to transmit until a satellite passes overhead.
Cospas-Sarsat (that's not easy to say!) also doesn't detect anything other than the 406MHz distress signal, not the 121.5MHz one. Lower frequency waves in general travel further through the atmosphere than their high-frequency counterparts, meaning that tge 406MHZ signal is less likely to make it to the satellite in the first place.

The big part that the media has picked up on was the ULB (underwater beacons) that are supposed to direct rescue crews to the "black box". There are actually two "black boxes": the SSFDR (which records flight data) and the SSCVR (which records the pilots talking). Of these two, only the SSFDR battery expired (in December 2012) and likely hadn't been up to snuff when transmitting flight data. The SSCVR battery expired in June 2014 and should have been just fine. As per the report:
The SSCVR ULB battery however was replaced, as scheduled, with the next expiry in June 2014. There is some extra margin in the design to account for battery life variability and ensure that the unit will meet the minimum requirement. However, once beyond the expiry date, the ULB effectiveness decreases so it may operate, for a reduced time period until it finally discharges. While there is a definite possibility that a ULB, will operate past the expiry date on the device, it is not guaranteed that it will work or that it would meet the 30-day minimum requirement. There is also limited assurance that the nature of the signal (characteristics such as frequency and power) will remain within specification when battery voltage drops below the nominal 30-day level.
While it certainly wouldn't help that one of the two "black boxes" didn't have a fresh battery, it seems unlikely that the failure to detect any ULB signals can be blamed on the battery alone. In a brief Google search, I haven't found any instances where only one black box has been recovered, meaning that it's highly unlikely that the SSCVR "black box" -- which had a fresh battery -- wouldn't have been discoverable at the time its twin was unavailable. Oddly enough, it's a 9/11 conspiracy busting site (go figure) that has the most comprehensive single page outlying cases where black boxes haven't been recovered. There's never been a case where one could be found while another was lost. Hey, remember how I started off this post?
The great expense in hunting for the plane's locator was all for naught: the battery expired a year before the plane even took off
That fact was endlessly reported in the media: too bad it isn't true. Only one of the two locator batteries was expired. Expired batteries may have still performed. The story being passed off in the press doesn't match the (interim) report.

There is some other stuff of some note in the report. I don't recall hearing about this during the round-the-clock CNN wormhole coverage:
MAS holds an Air Service Licence (ASL) and Air Operators Certificate (AOC) for scheduled and non-scheduled operations. It was public listed in 1985 with the Government holding a golden share. At its peak, MAS was having an extensive network of operations with more than 100 destinations spanning over 5 continents around the world. The recession in 1994 affected the airline’s business significantly when the operations were drastically scaled down.

The airline’s performance for the last 5 years had been a subject of great interest as it had suffered financial losses. Competition from emerging Low-cost operators significantly contributed to the negative performance of the Company. MAS had in its fleet the A380, A330, B747-400, B777-200 and B737-400 and B737-800. Its subsidiaries Firefly & MASWings operates the ATR-72 plying most of the domestic network in Peninsular & East Malaysia

In spite of its scaled down operations it is still a fairy large organisation (Figure 1.17D below shows the Organisation Structure of MAS), with a staff strength of more than 20,000 employees.
All that we heard about in the wake of MH-370 (and the Ukranian missile incident, which of course is just a freak coincidence) was their above-average safety record. If the finances are mentioned, it's usually an aside into a story about the airline's future.

The report also mentions a couple interesting quirks regarding Air Traffic Control (ATC) activities on the day MH-370 disappeared.


The last radio transmission between KL ATCC and MH370 took place at 1719:30 UTC [0119:30 MYT]. A contact should have occurred at around 1722 UTC [0122 MYT] when passing the waypoint IGARI. The first DETRESFA11 message was transmitted by KL ARCC at 2232 UTC [0632 MYT].
Thus a total of 5 hours and 13 minutes had passed by between the last message expected from the crew and the transmission of the first message triggering the Distress Phase12. It was only at 0330 UTC [1130 MYT] on 08 Mach 2014 that Malaysian aircraft took off heading to the search areas.
As the ‘custodian’ of the airspace, the KL ATCC was the key witness to the event, having transferred MH370 to HCM ATCC 3 minutes before the estimated time of arrival (ETA) over the Transfer of Control Point13 (TCP).
The estimate14 of the aircraft for IGARI which was 1722 UTC [0122 MYT] had been passed to, by KL ATCC, and duly acknowledged by HCM ATCC, as stipulated in the Operational Letter of Agreement between DCA Malaysia and Viet Nam Air Traffic Management.
The Operational Letter of Agreement between DCA Malaysia and Viet Nam Air Traffic Management stipulated that “the accepting unit shall notify the transferring unit if two-way communication is not established within five (5) minutes of the estimated time over the TCP”.
At 1739:03 UTC [0139:03 MYT] HCM ATCC queried KL ATCC for news on the MH370.
After MH370 was transferred to HCM ATCC, the time of transfer was not recorded manually on the paper Flight Progress Strip as stipulated in MATS Part 2-Gen Section 11 FLIGHT PROGRESS STRIPS.
Is this big about the transfer between Kuala Lumper and Ho Chi Minh not being recorded onto strips thing important? Probably not, with the large deluge of paper supposed to be processed, it was probably just missed. In a single day at work I've probably "missed" 15-20 little paper pushing exercises and record keeping I just didn't do. It doesn't mean I've blown up a jet aircraft. It does, however, cause a problem for the search:
Event that followed was at time 1804:39 UTC [0204:39 MYT] KL ATCC Radar controller informed HCM ACC; “…reference to the company Malaysian Airlines the aircraft is still flying, is over somewhere over Cambodia”. And thirty one minutes later, at time1835:52 UTC [0235:52 MYT] MAS Operations Centre informed the position of the aircraft was at latitude N14.9 0000 and longitude E109 15500, which was somewhere east of Vietnam and this information was relayed to HCM ACC.
At 1930 UTC [0330 MYT] MAS Operations Centre called in and spoke to Radar controller, admitting that the information from the ‘flight tracker21’ was based on projection and could not be relied for actual positioning or search (Watch Supervisor logbook entry)
In retrospect, MH-370 appeared determined not to be found, so it's unlikely that this incident, though unfortunate, in any way impeded discovery of the plane. It gave them early inaccurate information about MH-370, but the later information was equally inaccurate.

The plane's cargo has also been scrutinized, particularly the Lithium Ion batteries that were on board.
The shipment did not go through secuirty screening in Penang but was inspected physically by MASKargo personnel and went through Custom’s inspection and clearance before the truck was sealed and allowed to leave the Penang Cargo Complex. The shipment arrived at KLIA Cargo Complex on the evening of 07 March 2014 before being loaded onto MH370 without going through additional security screening.
Both of the batteries were not regulated as Dangerous Goods because the packing adhered to the guidelines as per Lithium Battery Guidance Document (3. Section II - Packing Instructions 965-970). This document is based on the provisions set out in the 2013-2014 Edition of the ICAO Technical Instructions for Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air and the 55th Edition of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR).
While the British press leaped on the batteries as dangerous, the IATA rules trump Fleet Street. Especially since, as anybody versed even remotely in IATA rules knows, they seriously error on the side of caution. If something isn't IATA Regulated, it's safer than baby oil (and yes, I did double check that baby oil doesn't have a UN number). The mangosteen fruit on-board, as you might guess, is also not dangerous.

There's only one non-appendix tidbit in the report left to cover, and it pretty much covers it all, doesn't it?
SECTION 1.19 – NEW INVESTIGATION TECHNIQUES
Not applicable at this stage of the investigation.

Louder with (Miss) Crowder

Conservative activist Steven Crowder has decided to put the ridiculous trannies in gyms controversy in the only sensible light.

The full video is coming out on Wednesday, but he has put up a teaser:

2015-03-14

Maybe her comms system has failed?

I hit a pretty cool Twitter milestone this week.

Happy Pi Day

Today is "Pi Day". Of course, all you people texting and tweeting this are complete and miserable failures unless you did it precisely at 1:59:26am.

2015-03-13

Edmonton: Red Bull Crashed Ice record setter

Red Bull Crashed Ice (or, "Red Bull Crushed Ice" as my coworker keeps annoyingly calling it) is coming to Edmonton for the first time ever this weekend.

I took a few photos of the track in progress last week, which I'll post below. But so far the big story has been the unseasonably warm weather and what the impact on the event might be.

Crashed Ice uses a refrigeration system to keep the track icy. I've seen a similar one in operation for the skating rink at Rockefeller Centre in New York City. When I was there in 2013, people were able to skate despite it being +22 degrees Celsius on December 22nd. Having seen the system "plugged into" the course, I wasn't remotely worried about the ice conditions, but a lot of people were.

Oh calm down everyone, Edmonton is basically the coldest city on the planet. Crashed Ice has been in Germany, Holland, and Northern Ireland so they've had to deal with warm weather before. You might think that, at first glance, but it turns out not to be true. Yes Crashed Ice has been to Valkenburg, Niagara Falls, and Lausanne. They had events in Munich (which is, it's worth noting, at Edmonton's latitude). But they've also been in Moscow, Helsinki, and Sweden. Their U.S. stop was in Minnesota which isn't exactly known for balmy winter weather.

So the question is, what's the temperature typically at for a Crashed Ice event? I went through and actually figured out the answer to the question:

Note a couple caveats: I picked the daytime high for each day that Red Bull Crashed Ice took place. Since the events take place in the evening, the actual temperature at racetime will almost certainly be lower. It does indicate what the track would be like. I also had to use the value for Trondheim, Norway for the Åre event in February 2012, since Åre doesn't have any historical data available (all figures are from weatherunderground.com). Landgraaf Netherlands in 2013 hosted a Crashed Ice event on Saturday February 9th, however no temperature data is archived for that day: I used the high on Friday February 8th instead. Finally, obviously, Edmonton is still just a forecast: I picked the forecasted high of +15 for Friday. The Saturday high is only +12.

Edmonton is the hottest temperature in Red Bull Crashed Ice history.


It's funny, but there it is: never since Crashed Ice started running in 2010 has there been a daytime high for an event above +11. The lowest temperature was of course Moscow, but St. Paul was right on their tail.

If the forecast holds, Edmonton will be setting a new Crashed Ice record on the thermometer, even if the crowds don't.

(click any of these pictures to view full-sized)


Update, 3:57pm: CTV weatherman Josh Classen notes that before 2010 Red Bull did do Crashed Ice-style events on a smaller scale.

2015-03-12

The Curse of the Goat vs The Curse of the MLBPA?

Grantland's Michael Baumann doesn't like how the Chicago Cubs are treating Kris Bryant.

Okay, strictly speaking it's about the MLBPA's chief Tony Clark objecting to how the Cubbies are treating Kris Bryant, which is to say...treating him exactly like every team treats every rookie.
Which brings us to why Clark is all cheesed off. It’s widely accepted that even if Bryant proves this spring that he’s ready to break camp with the major league club, the Cubs will send him down to Triple-A for a few weeks. That’s because if, at the end of the 2020 season, Bryant has accrued six years of service time, he’ll be able to become a free agent, but if he’s accrued five years and 171 days of service time, he won’t, allowing the Cubs to control him for another year.

Holding back Bryant this April will give the Cubs another prime year from their blue-chipper at the cost of missing his bat for only a few early weeks in a season in which they might not contend anyway. From a business standpoint, it’s a no-brainer.
From a fan standpoint, it's equally a no-brainer. The Baumann/Clark objection here, that the Cubs aren't going to "burn up" a year of Bryant's entry level contract, is a familiar one to Edmonton Oilers fans. We've been complaining about management burning up ELCs for years, from Taylor Hall to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to Nail Yakupov...and those are just first overall picks! To say nothing of the folly of burning a year's eligibility on Magnus Paajarvi, Jeff Petry, Leon Draisaitl, etc. "Don't burn ELCs when you're going to finish last in the league" says Oilers blogger Derek Zona, which is advise that Cubs fans probably are taking to heart.

Bonus line from Brownlee about why he's glad Hall's ELC got "burned up": after four straight seasons out of the playoffs, telling Hall and Paajarvi to wait a year as part of the big picture might be a tough sell for the majority of fans. With the Oilers just adding a ninth playoff missing season, I'm not sure fans are as happy watching Taylor Hall have to play losing hockey for half a decade as Brownlee suspects.

The NHL salary cap is a major factor to consider, though. Unlike the Edmonton Oilers, if the Chicago Cubs discover in 2021 that their payroll has ballooned to $120M and they've only signed 30 players, they can just spend another X million on the 10 players they still need to sign. If X happens to be another $120M, so be it. The ultimate impact is on the bottom line of the team, which is the most profitable in the Majors. It's different in a salary cap league, where if the Oilers discover 15 guys have eaten up $60M in salary (well, cap space, specifically, but let's not get confusing here) they only have $9M left to sign the remaining 5 spots, meaning those last 5 spots have to average $555,000 a year where the league minimum is $550,000 ($575,000 next season). In other words, they'll have to fill those spots with the worst players available. The Cubs don't.

Regardless, however, there is a real "salary cap" in the form of the revenue generated by the Cubs organization to fund the payroll. So therefore Cubs fans, knowing that they can't just sign the 40 best players in baseball and be done with it, have to realize that the more money a player makes with the organization, the less in in the kitty to go and get other good players to play with him. For Cubs fans, this is the important consideration. They may be Bryant fans now because the 6'5" third baseman is with their team, but that's the main motivation. Few Cubs/Bryant fans today will be Cubs/Bryant fans when he moves to another team [assuming he does, which isn't something you can say for sure about Bryants -ed], so in a battle between their loyalties the Cubbies will win every time [which isn't something you can say for sure about Cubs -ed]. Michael Baumann tries to make the argument that fans should be rooting for Bryant or the MLBPA because of the Major's protected legal status, but his moralistic argument is impeded by his massive factual error:
Believing that professional athletes make too much money is the logical equivalent of preferring for that money to remain in the hands of the owners — who are rich already, whom you don’t know, and who enrich themselves directly off your tax money — rather than in the hands of the players you love watching and whose labor is literally the only thing of value that the owners have to sell
The emphasis above is, of course, completely wrong. Owners of businesses, even ones with court-mandated legal monopolies, are not "enriching themselves off your tax money". That's the exclusive purview of public school teachers, government bureaucrats, etc. Baumann may be trying to mae a comment about sports teams trying to secure tax money for stadium construction, but again that argument isn't going to work for the Chicago Cubs. So no, those greedy owners aren't getting "your tax money".
Owners, like an oil company or your cable provider, are the middlemen you have to go through to access the thing you want. I don’t know anyone who roots for a cable company.
Grantland is the "middleman" to get the thing you want, in this case, something to read, but I digress.
But that’s why we have labor unions, right? Clark’s belated objection is nothing more than a union boss doing his job. Yet even so, the MLBPA, one of the most successful labor unions in the country, will almost certainly do nothing to end the exploitation of amateurs and minor leaguers, or the stunning underpayment of pre-arbitration players.

That’s because the money in baseball, though it comes in unimaginable quantities, is finite and divisible; and because the MLBPA comprises major league only players; and because its leadership tends to comprise mostly veterans. If the owners are willing to change the rules to open up free-agent expenditures in exchange for a worldwide draft and amateur spending caps, the union will sell out the kids and the amateurs faster than you can say “moral hazard.” Going to war over Bryant would mean spending either literal or social capital that the MLBPA could use to help current union members instead.
Ah, now we get to the crux of the matter: Baumann is trying to lay out a case for why the MLBPA needs to take action to stop the Cubs from leaving Kris Bryant in the minors even though there's literally no action they can take and while they totally want the thing to happen that's happening. None of the parties involved are breaking the rules, Baumann admits, but thinks that acting within those rules (these are commonly dismissed as "loopholes" but in this case even that bit of rhetoric is too strong) is something that a union President, who has a signed agreement with the owners determining what those rules are, should be upset about. Said union President is even upset about it!

But he has no real grounds to be upset. And if you're a Cubs fan hoping that your team will be competitive in 3-8 years (you could be hoping for this year, but you're a Cubs fan, not crazy), you absolutely should love this news. Even if you also love Bryant.

By Grade 3 kids will have seen worse anyways

The Windsor Library camgirl has been arrested and charged with performing an indecent act.

People are outraged that she performed lewd sex acts in front of children at a local library, instead of an elementary school like she's supposed to.

2015-03-11

If you don't use Micro$oft, you still need to FR3AK

What's your first impression from this Financial Post story?

First you'd see the headline: "Microsoft Corp warns ‘Freak’ security bug leaves hundreds of millions of PC users vulnerable"

You might make your way to the opening paragraph, though, where you'd read that the "FREAK" security bug was initially thought to "only threaten mobile devices and Mac computers".

That's good, because the FREAK bug totally impacts every single modern communications device on the planet.

News of the vulnerability surfaced on Tuesday when a group of nine security experts disclosed that ubiquitous Internet encryption technology could make devices running Apple Inc’s iOS and Mac operating systems, along with Google Inc’s Android browser vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Microsoft released a security advisory on Thursday warning customers that their PCs were also vulnerable to the “Freak” vulnerability.

The weakness could allow attacks on PCs that connect with Web servers configured to use encryption technology intentionally weakened to comply with U.S. government regulations banning exports of the strongest encryption.

If hackers are successful, they could spy on communications as well as infect PCs with malicious software, the researchers who uncovered the threat said on Tuesday.
So the Financial Post didn't do too badly about the news about FREAK and Microsoft.

Unfortunately, they were seemingly in the minority. Kelowna Now's headline reads "PC Users Left Vulnerable by Security Flaw" and at no point in the article does it mention non-Microsoft products are impacted. The Christianity Today headline says "FREAK bug: Microsoft issues security warning on latest bug for Windows OS users" and you have to make it to paragraph three before you find out that Android, Blackberry, and Apple devices are also impacted. Global TV News says "‘FREAK’ security flaw affecting Microsoft PCs" with the opening paragraph implying the problem is exclusive to Microsoft before spilling the beans a couple paragraphs down. Maine News Online also waits until paragraph three to mention the FREAK bug's long reach, sticking to "Microsoft warns Windows PC users about ‘FREAK’ vulnerability" as it's headline. very few sites, such as Tech Week Europe have both headlines and opening paragraphs that explain the bug well.

Why is this a big deal, you ask? Easy: the casual reader, especially the kind who don't use Microsoft products (your low-info tech people), are going to see articles like this and be convinced that they're immune from the FREAK bug, a worldwide SSL exploit that impacts all devices.

When Zine Report puts a giant "Microsoft" photo on with it's article, it gives people the inaccurate impression. When we're dealing with a software vulnerability such as FREAK, it's a dangerous tactic that gives some of the most impacted users (clueless smartphone owners) a chance to unwittingly expose themselves to the flaw.

If you're going to write this story, you should really invest in a headline like "Microsoft joins Apple, Android as tech giants impacted by FREAK bug", along with a picture of a computer chip or a keyboard or a person using an electronic device. Microsoft did announce it was vulnerable, yes that is news. But it's only part of a larger story, and one that much of the audience may not have been listening to. Framing the story like this means fewer of them will.

The Tories backtrack on Bill 10 -- backwards into the filth

Faggot-Familiar Alliances are coming to schools

On Tuesday Education Minister Gordon Dirks announced that he would be altering the infamous Bill 10 to require all public schools in the province to endorse the advocacy groups that teach your children sodomy is cool, rather than the sick demented lifestyle choice that it is.

It immediately garnered all the support by the sickos who promoted Faggot-Familiar Alliances over the past six years (six years which, I stress, I was at the forefront warning you against). Ben Henderson's wife started lying pretty much the moment a microphone was stuck in her face:

Today’s announcement is a victory for safety and inclusivity, and proof of the value of an effective Liberal opposition,” said Blakeman.

Last April with Motion 503, Alberta Liberals began the fight for Gay-Straight Alliances in any school where they are needed. When the PCs voted down that motion it prompted a backlash that they never expected. They underestimated the progressive, and inclusive values that Martha and Henry’s children hold dear.
Faggot-Familiar Alliances are never needed: they are a political advocacy organization that the sick and immoral 2% of the population requires so they don't fatally despair themselves over the truth of the lifestyle they've succumbed to. As for the backlash, that's where the Familiars come in. Remember, there aren't many faggots, it's their enablers, the Familiars, who are the root of the problem, and they're just as immoral and just in need of being stopped -- by any means necessary -- as the faggots themselves. Blakeman only the most public face of these sick weirdos.
We understood those values because they are our values, progressive values. So we brought forward Bill 202, the most comprehensive bill to protect the LGBTQ community that this province has ever seen. While the PCs used cynical political tactics to kill Bill 202 before it ever could be debated, we again saw an inspiring backlash at their regressive alternative, Bill 10.
Blakeman just keeps lying here. Bill 10 was Bill 202 in basically every single aspect. There was nothing to distinguish them save a minor passage about requiring courts to stop principals who wished to do the right thing and tell the little fudge packers to take a hike.

So now Bill 10 is coming, just as I warned you (noticing a pattern here? the pro-uranist lifestyle moves and I'm here to warn you, to help you stop them. Neglect that at your own peril). Now, schools are required to give these groups that expressly push their political agenda special recognition. Principals are forbidden by law to deny a Faggot-Familiar Alliance, yet if you decide you want to start an anti-poofter group in schools, you can be denied official promotion and recognition eight ways from Sunday. If you want to start a pro-life group, you can be denied. If you want to start a chess club, official recognition can be denied.

If you're a pillow biter, though, your club has special rights and privileges written into provincial law.

But hey, Faggot-Familiar Alliances aren't "political" or anything, remember? Sure, they demanded special government legislation, and spoke out in favour of said legislation, and oppose other legislation, but when was something like that political?

And just in time for this sudden betrayal by the ruling Progressive Conservatives came the "Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties" society (which apparently thinks that denying those who speak the truth about the sick lifeless lifestyle of sodomy the chance to express themselves and promoting a political organization in public schools against parental and taxpayer wishes is a "civil liberty") published a ridiculous push poll by sodomite activist Austin Bender that found that citizens were in favour of Faggot-Familiar Alliances.

But were they? Mrs. Laurie Henderson wasn't the only pro-uranist activist willing to tell lies about the demented agenda that Faggot-Familiar Alliances would be pushing in schools. Metro Newspapers, led by sodomite columnist Mike Morrison, did nothing but tell lies and half-truths about Faggot-Familiar Alliances. A full double-page spread in Metro was "people talking" about FFAs, and not a single one of them wasn't a far-left pro-sodomite. Likewise Global Edmonton, which hosted sodomite University of Alberta coward Kristopher Wells almost daily to lisp his sssssupport for thissss propossssthed legisssthlation, and the Edmonton Journal which like Metro gave endless support for those in favour of these sick groups. You know, of course, what the CBC was up to this whole time.

Did they give any time for those who opposed? The SUN chain gave column-inches scraps to Bishop Henry in Calgary, and even he only opposed Catholics endorsing these faggy little clubs, he gave not even lip service to the parents who don't want this immoral agenda being given special privileges in public schools. Otherwise, not a word of anybody in the media who didn't like Faggot-Familiar Alliances or didn't want them to be given special treatment. The Edmonton Journal wouldn't even publish any critical letters. If you were following the media, you'd be unaware that parents rejected these groups that had twice been defeated in the Legislative Assembly. Media outlets talked up that the groups were "voluntary", which is supposed to be the consolation, without noting that all student groups are voluntary, but that Bill 10 (or Bill 202, they were essentially identical) exclusively gave these faggy little clubs the power to compel principals and school boards to recognize them. That plenty of FFAs were formed (and even recognized!) without legislation compelling principals to do so was also glossed over.

Bill 10 was a horrible piece of legislation, really, and now it's been made even worse, without even the safeguards that permit parents even the smallest amount of autonomy over the immoral garbage being fed to their kids. Why? In part because of the push poll by the Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties group, which found that 80% of people polled, when first told all the Blakeman/Wells lies about Faggot-Familiar Alliances said that they thought they should be allowed in schools (which, as you know, they already were). Even then, 20% were opposed which is pretty good considering how loaded the questions were to begin with. For reference's sake, that means those opposed to the fairy-tale (pun intended) FFAs described by the media still outnumber the homos 10-to-1. Now you know why I devote such energy to confronting the idiocy of the familiars! (It doesn't hurt that they're pretty mush-brained and it won't take much pushing to get them back on the side of right). Imagine what it would be if Faggot-Familiar Alliances were noted to be advocacy groups, asking for a special right not available to any other group, and being guaranteed official recognition no matter their conduct? Also worth noting is that less than half still were okay with these groups forming in private schools.

So what comes next?
If you've read this blog before, you know what comes next. Don't back down. Don't give ground. And above all, don't give the faggots what they are trying to get with this legislation, which is quiet acceptance. Still feel free, when you see some kid who's a poofter, to tell him that he's immoral, that his "feelings" are false, that he's not yet normal and he should be. Don't let these irrational fears of teen suicides disuade you. Kids commit suicide for the stupidest of reasons, and if they cannot handle being told the truth about their incorrect lifestyle choice, that's hardly the fault of the person telling them. It's another symptom of the mental disease that caused them to choose this lifestyle in the first place. You don't cure a disease by pretending it doesn't exist: you attack it.

Don't let Faggot-Familiar Alliances get away with the "GSA" moniker. They are illegitimate groups of both poofters and the idiots who bought into their spin. Tell them this every day. Form groups opposed to them. Tell your school you don't want them to recognize it. Make this law not worth the paper it's printed on. Once the poofters go on the defensive, the familiars won't be so quick to back them up.

Faggots are trying to change the conversation. No. They're the ones who need to change, and if you stand still they will either change, or go away.

Either way, victory is still attainable, but much work and vigilance will still be required: don't think that they are done pushing their agenda. Don't let a single battle dissuade you from the cause of right.

What Has Jeremy Clarkson Gone and Done Now?

Jeremy Clarkson, the car-loving BBC version of Don Cherry, has been suspended by the Beeb.

Clarkson apparently had an argument with a producer over an incident where he recited the common nursary rhyme:

Eeny, meeny, mynie, mo
Catch a nigger by the toe
If he hollers let him go
Eeny, meeny, mynie, mo.
As per the Guardian, Clarkson mumbled through the immortal second line of the song, but that wasn't good enough for the diversity enforcers. Anti-liberty activist Aliya Mohammed declared "racism is illegal".

Possibly related: Clarkson is in negotiations for a new contract with the BBC, and Clarkson's company made about $1.2M in profits last year despite selling the rights to Top Gear to the BBC for almost $10M a few years back.

2015-03-10

MLA for Edmonton-Decore-um

Don Martin, the former Calgary Herald columnist Edmonton businessman and one-time Wildrose Alliance candidate, announced on Monday that he had been barred from the Progressive Conservative nomination in Edmonton-Decore.

Balraj Manhas, a cab union president, was also told he was required to drop out of the race in Edmonton-Ellerslie. Manhas didn't have much to say on his forced removal except that it seemed to be on technical grounds:

Manhas said 25 signatures were required from members to allow him to run and he says he supplied 30.

“They asked me to pull out or they said they would put in the public that I was disqualified or something like that,” he said. “I only had a few minutes to decide.

Manhas reluctantly pulled out. He said he’d sent another email Monday morning inquiring for more information about why he would have been disqualified but hadn’t received a response.

“I need an answer from the party...if they open the nominations it should be fair for everybody,” he said. “If they don’t want to open the nominations, that’s fine.”
Manhas being barred may be related to this story from May of last year where Manhas attacked the City of Edmonton's Vehicle for Hire Industry Advisory Group. As per the SUN story, his own organization (United Cabbies Association) didn't like how drivers and owners weren't permitted onto the advisory group and that the meetings were closed-door.
When asked about the closed-door nature of the group's meetings, city staff explained that because the group is simply there to provide expert advise to the executive committee and not make binding decisions, it does not have to meet in public. The public, staff explained, can voice concerns about the industry at the committee meetings held at city hall.

It was also mentioned that Manhas' organization was somewhat ad-hoc and repeated requests for his membership list or terms of reference have been denied.

Manhas said his members are afraid their jobs could be at risk if their names are given to the city and become available to license owners. Meanwhile, he said licences are being sold on the black market for up to $200,000 while the industry remains without a watchdog.
Seems so long ago, the pre-Uber days, don't they?

Unlike Manhas, though, Don Martin isn't keeping remotely mum about the details.
On Friday March 6th 2015, hours before the Edmonton-Decore nomination, at around 6 pm I was given notice that I was disqualified as a Progressive Conservative Party nomination candidate for the provincial riding of Edmonton-Decore. I received a call from the Executive Director, Kelley Charlebois informing me of this disqualification. According to Mr. Charlebois an affidavit outlining misconduct on my part had been sworn, the contents of the document had been shared with the nominating committee, and that the committee had voted to disqualify me as a candidate.

Mr. Charlebois, when notifying me of this disqualification, exhibited highly irregular behavior. At the time he phoned me he briefly made me aware that the affidavit had been sworn, and then issued me an ultimatum – withdraw voluntarily within 5 minutes or a press release would be issued stating that I had been disqualified. Since I had not seen the affidavit, since the author was, and still remains unknown to me, and since I regarded Mr. Charlebois, actions akin to a Star Chamber proceeding, and morally equivalent to blackmail, I declined to withdraw.

It is my position that I was being asked to accept a finding misconduct that was completely unverifiable. Mr. Charlebois, in response to my statement on blackmail, immediately stated that we had no more to discuss and notified me that the press release stating that I was disqualified would be released. For reasons unexplained an unusual, he then phoned me back several minutes later in an attempt to somehow rationalize to me that his actions did not constitute blackmail, coercion, or otherwise. When I restated my disagreement with his actions he again hung up stating that he had nothing further to say to me. It would appear that despite using similar tactics, with affidavits of possibly dubious nature in the nomination contest in Edmonton-Ellerslie, he is not quite comfortable with this script yet.

At this time I am unaware of who swore the affidavit. I was also, at no time offered the chance to review the contents of the affidavit, nor given the opportunity to find out who swore the affidavit. Also an actual copy of the affidavit, to my knowledge, was at no time shared with the nominating committee. In fact it is my understanding, at this time, that Mr. Charlebois merely communicated his understanding of contents of the affidavit to the committee. At no time was I allowed to defend, explain, nor was I even aware of the existence of the affidavit prior to it being shared with the nominating committee.

As of today, I have still not seen the affidavit, nor am I aware of its contents or its author. Indeed, aside from oral statements made by Mr. Charlebois there is no actual physical proof, to me at this time, of its existence.

It is my opinion, in a fair and just democracy, that persons accused have reasonable right to recourse as well as the right to face their accusers. It is also my opinion that prior to submitting this affidavit to the nomination committee that the party had a moral obligation to consult with me in a private manner regarding whatever contents are in that document, if it exists, before a decision was made. I should have also been afforded the right to submit any explanation or evidence, as it may or may not be needed, to the nomination committee.

On the morning of Saturday, March the 7th, my campaign team sorrowfully labored in informing more than 400+ supporters that their choice in who would be their nominated PC party candidate would be deprived, along with their right as party members and supporters to cast a ballot. It was disheartening to witness the many new Canadians on my team, born in countries where there are minimal if any democratic rights to vote, contacting their friends and peers to inform them that their opportunity to vote had been taken away from them. When pressed for an explanation, all they could offer is that this was due to some backroom proceeding that neither they nor I understood. Many volunteers on my team are community leaders from visible minority communities; a beautiful cross-section of cultures, religions, and backgrounds. I was humbled that they were and remain willing to support me; I am morally outraged that they have been disenfranchised.

The next logical step will be to obtain this affidavit and to learn the identity and motivations of its author. I will be pursuing this course of action using whatever resources necessary. I hope while doing so I will have the co-operation of our party. At this time I do not believe that what occurred was done with the knowledge of the leader of our party, but rather a small, cohort of persons with motives unknown at this time. There have been numerous nomination irregularities throughout the last month or so - Edmonton-Ellerslie, Calgary-Cross, Calgary-Cross, Calgary-McCall, and Sturgeon-St. Albert have also had highly irregular nomination contests indicative of a power struggle within. The rank and file grassroots are suffering for it and are being used as pawns.

I am not certain how events will unfold going forward; however, I will not allow what has occurred to stand on merits of some empty threat over a telephone. I am fully prepared to be honest and upfront regarding anything that emerges. I challenge those who would dare to deprive their own members due process and the right to vote to do the same.
Martin doesn't disclose what that misconduct is: either he doesn't know, which means Charlebois is probably taking action on misconduct that didn't happen; he does know, which means Charlebois is taking action on misconduct that Martin is hoping the PC Party isn't too keen on disclosing publicly; or Don Martin is guilty of misconduct but he doesn't realize that he did it, either a disagreement over what the misconduct is or misconduct done by members of his campaign team without his knowledge.

If there is no misconduct, it's a witch hunt by Charlebois and company that doesn't want Martin in the party. Seeing how he's a former Wildrose guy, he's the sort of "big tent name" that you'd think the party would be happy to have. Hell, they had no problem with Chris LaBossiere, the far-left Alberta Party guy that decided he was interested in the reins of power after all. Why not Martin? If instead of Martin we were dealing with a small fish guy who carried baggage (LaBossiere or Manhas both fit that bill, you may note), you could see the PCs trumping up some charges to clear the way for the nominee they want. In this case though, the nominee is Janice Sarich, one of the leftish Red Tories who worked with the distasteful pukes over at Public Interest Alberta (ironically enough, in the "Democracy Task Force") and finds herself agreeing with David Eggen. She was part of the anti-Redford dissidents, and while likely a Prentice loyalist there's nothing there to hint that the PC leadership is that keen on her. Certainly not enough to risk what's happening now: public exposure of 'dirty pool' tactics, making false claims about misconduct in order to keep a 'bad guy' out who wasn't really that bad. You'd expect this sort of executive-level bungling during Stelmach or even Redford, but not Prentice.

If there is misconduct, and Don Martin knows about it, we certainly wouldn't expect anything from his Facebook post quoted above. He'd exclusively cover the good things about his work with the party and with his strength in the constituency, hoping that the negative press he was putting on the party made them more fearful of backlash over quashing his nomination than any backlash over letting somebody run who had conducted misconduct. This would be shades of Trudeau welcoming Eve Adams into the federal Liberal party: yes yes, Don Martin is guilty of some electoral misconduct, but he's a biggish-named Wildrose guy etc. etc. etc. The problem with this strategy is that despite what I wrote in the last section, Martin isn't a big enough "score" that he'd be worth bringing in despite nomination irregularities. Eve Adams is a sitting MP, Martin got 20% of the vote for Wildrose in the last election. I said above that Martin isn't bad enough to risk getting political flack for inventing charges, but here he's not good enough to risk getting political flack for ignoring misconduct. Moreover, surely Don Martin and/or his team are saavy enough to pick up on this. When a public spat like this is declared, it's because you're trying to force your opponent's hand. Charlebois's hand in this scenario is so amazingly strong he has no reason to fold. He's got a capable MLA already in the riding, and a newcomer who's been caught in misconduct. The only way out of this scenario for Martin is if the PCs don't want to say explicitly what the misconduct is: Maher Arar style, they're too worried that the misconduct can be easily replicated. Unlike Arar, which had national (and international!) security implications, this doesn't seem likely in a nomination battle in provincial politics.

If Don Martin took actions that the PCs consider misconduct and he does not, then we're in Jian Ghomeshi territory. And like Ghomeshi, that means that the Don Martin Facebook post can be gleaned for clues as to what the PC party considers misconduct that Martin thinks is perfectly justified and standard procedure. We're almost not talking about rough sex with pretty starlets here, but let's see how far the analogy spreads. The first thing I noticed when I looked at the post was that Don Martin, who's whiter than Eminem, suddenly thought to play the race card.
It was disheartening to witness the many new Canadians on my team, born in countries where there are minimal if any democratic rights to vote, contacting their friends and peers to inform them that their opportunity to vote had been taken away from them. When pressed for an explanation, all they could offer is that this was due to some backroom proceeding that neither they nor I understood. Many volunteers on my team are community leaders from visible minority communities; a beautiful cross-section of cultures, religions, and backgrounds. I was humbled that they were and remain willing to support me; I am morally outraged that they have been disenfranchised.
Was this because he actually was morally outraged that people who planned to vote for him had their option removed? Was there a particular reason that he had secured such a large ethnic vote? I can't say I'm familiar enough with Martin's 30+ years at the Calgary Herald years in the Edmonton business community to say whether he expressed or showed an intense interest with issues related to immigrants or minorities, so maybe the interest in his campaign stems from mutual respect and admiration, or maybe even a little quid pro quo. But what if the pro quo comes before the quid? What if the strong support from those "born in countries" other than Alberta, the same supporters who Martin specially highlights as important, are the reason for his ouster from the party? It wouldn't be the first time a Conservative candidate in the Edmonton area tried shady tricks and an ethnic bloc to gain a nomination, and if Martin wasn't breaking the rules as blatantly and publicly as Uppal then it might explain why we're only learning of this now. It's also quite possible that Martin was bending rather than breaking those rules, and that the fine line between "bend" and "break" (which is more of a fuzzy smear akin to where electrons are) is interpreted differently whether your name is Don Martin or Kelley Charlebois. Similar struggles impacted the Liberal Party of Canada in Vancouver South in November, so we aren't really talking too deep into the realm of fiction. And like Ghomeshi with the "kinky sex that people may dislike" defense, it may be that the "morally outraged about disenfranchising" bit takes one element of the truth and spins it in a way that paints the ousted party as the victim, the target of the wrath of a cruel organization, making the ousting itself repugnant. There may well be other instances where Martin's campaign did some rule-bending that is now being admonished as worthy of disqualification, and that there is no hint of them in Martin's Facebook posting, though the odd devotion to the ethnic community line does set off my spidey-senses.

Finally, if Don Martin's campaign team is guilty of misconduct he was unaware of, the situation starts to get murky. For one, it means that Don Martin doesn't "control his people", which you would think isn't the worst sin in the world but when it comes to political staffers is a damning indictment. The guy running for office, like the captain of a starship, is responsible for the conduct of the men and women under his command. It also explains Don Martin's confusion over why everything was blowing up, why he posted the Facebook posting, and possibly why Charlebois wanted him to quit outright and not release the details of the affidavit. In his Facebook post, Martin asks why he's not being allowed the opportunity to face his accuser. If this is the scenario, then Martin has no accusers, at least not as such. The affidavit could very easily be one of Martin's own campaign team, or somebody in the party who found it fishy. It's possible that Charlebois didn't want to divulge too much info about who reported whom, and also that the plan was to see what Martin knew. If it was, it's obviously a misjudge on Charlebois and the Progressive Conservative Party's part, the whole incident is still blowing up in their face.

So which of these scenarios is true? At the moment, we don't know and perhaps never shall. The charges against Uppal were much more public than the ones against Martin, and Uppal still has more than enough defenders. It's quite possible that more information over the next few days will start to "firm up" some of the uncertainty here. There may still be a flip-flop by the Progressive Conservatives, and if it's scenario one or four watch that flip-flop be in the form of trying to parachute Martin into a neighbouring constituency such as Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview, where he ran for Wildrose in 2012 (currently held by the New Democrats). If the charges by the Progressive Conservatives hold up, or partially hold up, or don't reveal anything that Martin can disprove, it could be back to the Wildrose. Or the a newspaper. Or everything is forgiven when a new leader replaces Prentice.

Update, March 11 2015, 6:01am: This would be the Don Martin the Edmonton businessman, not the Don Martin Herald reporter.

2015-03-09

Jackie Chan

Cultural differences can be a killer. This is why this story about Jackie Chan hurts the brain so much.

It seems that a recent "parliamentary" session will feature Chan (he's been part of the assembly apparently as payback to get his movies endorsed to 1.2 billion possible audience members), and to show their satisfaction with the ruling body they have been...endlessly playing an old commercial where he made the sound "duang".

What does "duang" mean in Chinese? Special effects, apparently, though it seems to make no difference to the meme in question. He said "duang" once, so people are making mashups of it over and over to show they're upset that the organization that Chan is in is meeting ineffectually.

How does that work? Beats me. I wonder if China gets #PrenticeBlamesAlbertans.