Friday, August 17, 2007

Libel Chill Hits Canadian Blogosphere

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, are we men or are we mice? Last night, CBC's The National had an 8 minute segment on blogging and libel and lawsuits. Section 15's Mark Francis was interviewed. Also yammerin' were Michael Geist and Kate Holloway. I'd call that big news fer the Canajun boogeysphere.

I'd expect Pergressive Boogers an' the Boogin' Tories main feeds to be full of boog stories talkin' about the CBC story and about libel laws, links and litigious lunacy. But, dang it all, there's hardly anybuddy writin' about it.

Why not? Because, like the story was all about, there's a chill in the air -- Libel Chill.

I ain't in favour of libel and slander. I come out strong when I seen a Canajun booger libellin' Scott Tribe a few months back. I'll come out strong again if I see that sorta stuff. In comin' out against a slanderin' snake, I might post a link to the offensive material. I did link to the numbnuts slanderer when Scottie was bein' victimized. The offender eventually changed his post and took out the bad stuff.

In that case, if Scott was as small-minded as some other people (who shall remain nameless on accounta they'd probbly sue my sorryass) he'd have had cause to sue me fer linkin' to the slanderer. Scott ain't small-minded and he ain't a litigious lunatic (like some nameless people). He let the libel roll off like water off a duck's back.

If we wanna protect the Canajun boogeysphere and protect free speech, we need to fight frivolous lawsuits and the libel chill they foster. Do yer part and donate what you can.

One idea I been kickin' around is fer a mass linkin' campaign where as many boogers as possible defy the litigious lunatic and link to the offensive material. Double-dog-dare the sumbitch to sue everybuddy. It might backfire, though, on somebuddy who ain't afraid o' tryin' to sue Google, Yahoo, MySpace an' Wikipedia.

Or, we can all point an' laff an'compare this case to that numbnuts Merkan judge who tried suin' the poor dry cleaners fer $67 million when they lost his suit pants. He not only lost his suit pants, he lost his lawsuit and was ordered to pay costs. Plus, the whole world seen what a small-minded, greedy bullyboy he is.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Olaf's Great Debate: Nuclear Power, Yes or No?

Whooee! I was just over to a new site called The Great Canadian Debate where they got a interestin' idea. They get two bloggers to make their case on a topic and then the readers go on a discussion board to comment. Olaf from The Prairie Wrangler is behind the site and I say kudos to Olaf fer a dang good idea.

Today, the debate's on nuclear power. John of Dymaxion World is arguing against nukes. Frank Cybulski is on the pro-nuke side. Since I'm a lazyass and a recycler, I lifted my comment from there and I'm pasting it here.
Frank said: However, it can be assumed from both evidence and logical deduction that those single two incidents are the two blotches on an otherwise flawless safety record,

Chernobyl and Three Mile Island are the two most well-known nuclear accidents. The industry's safety record is anything but flawless. A simple wikipedia search for nuclear accidents would tell even the most casual investigator that there have, in fact, been hundreds of accidents. To suggest that the nuclear industry's safety record is "flawless" is to insult the reader. After reading that genuinely offensive piece of disinformation, I very nearly quit reading Frank's argument.

If I had quit, though, I wouldn't have seen the next falsehood: The main example in favour of nuclear is that of France.

During heatwaves in 2003 and again in 2006, many of France's reactors had to be shut down due to a lack of cooling water. This was at the time when they needed the most energy for AC, refrigeration, fans, etc. In the 2003 heatwave, thousands of French citizens died from heat related problems.

Not enough cool water caused reactors to shut down in Michigan in 2006.

Groundwater in the French Champagne wine and dairy district is seven times more radioactive than EU standards permit. An entire industry, centuries old, faces collapse due to leaking radioactive contaminants.

Here in Canada, we have the Cameco situation. Cameco is a processor of raw uranium into nuclear fuel. Their Port Hope, Ontario plant has been leaking radioactive toxins into the ground and the plant has been shut down while they try to find the leak. They are being forced to drill holes through the sides of their various buildings and structures looking for the source. They've been looking for about three weeks, now.

The notion that nuclear energy production is carbon neutral is flat out wrong. Uranium mining is one of the most CO2 intensive of all mining operations. Transportation and refining of uranium are CO2 emitters. The construction of new nuclear plants takes years and is anything but carbon neutral.

Ontario's Environment Commissioner, Gordon Miller, says we should be looking at smaller, localized sources of power rather than large, centralized generators. The loss of power in transmitting across hundreds of miles amounts to more than 10%. Buyilding those transmission routes is another CO2 emitter and also takes valuable agricultural land out of use. McGuinty has chosen not to take the advice of his environment commissioner.

Frank goes on: Much is made of nuclear waste, but the miniscule amount of waste created by nuclear is insignificant when properly taken care of,
It's not the quantity. It's the toxicity. As far as "properly taken care of", nobody's figured out how to do that, yet. They've been looking for a way to properly take care of this waste for 60 years but, so far, temporary on-site storage is what we're doing. Even industry insiders say this is not a good permanent solution.

Nuclear waste must be guarded 24/7 by armed guards. Why? So terrorists or other criminals don't steal it to use as the dirt in a dirty bomb... or worse. Ontario Power Generation is training its own security force to takeover this responsibility from police.

No nuclear project in Canada has ever come in on time or on budget. The cost over-runs have been in the bilions. Reactor lifespans were said to be 40 years and when the existing Ontario reactors were built, the cost was prorated over 40 years. After 20 years, however, they began to fail. No reactor in Ontario has lasted more than 25 years. This has effectively doubled the cost to the taxpayer. Ontarians pay a charge on every monthly bill for "Ontario Hydro Debt Repayment." This money is entirely going to pay off bad investments in nuclear energy.

Shall I get into the cancer rates (200%-300% above average) in locales near nuclear plants? Shall I note all the times there were accidents and the public was left uninformed of the danger they were in (think way back to the Japan earthquake a couple weeks ago.) Shall I tell how the industry wines and dines local municipal government officials when a plant is proposed (Manitoba councillors flown out east for lobster dinners before a critical vote in which they approved a nuclear application)?

No nukes!


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Americans Favourable to Nuclear Power

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, I got myself on a mailin' list fer folks concerned about what's happenin' here in Nanticoke with the Nanticoke coal-fired generator. Ginty sez he's closin' it down an' there's a bigass push to build a nuclear power plant on or near the present location on the shores of Lake Erie.Today, I got an email pointin' me at the Wall Street Journal's forum where they got a yammerin' gabfest goin' on all about whether the Merkans oughta build more nuke plants. I jumped in an' since I'm a lazyass, I recycled most o' my comment into this here boog story.

They got a poll sez about 80% like the nuke idea. Most o' the comments is pro-nuke. Some of 'em, they IDed themselves as nuke industry workers.Some commenters was castin' doubt on the veracity of the online poll. Me, too. I reckon it's gettin' freeped just like that one The Beaver done where ol' Troodough come out as worstest Canajun ever.

A lotta Merkans unnerstand that oil's what got 'em in hot water over in EyeRack an' they're willin' to do whatever it takes to quit buyin' oil. Whatever it takes that don't put a crimp in their wasteful lifestyle, that is. They're buyin' into the ad campaign: clean, safe, affordable.

I seen a lot of WSJ commenters touting France as a good example of nuclear success. Someone claimed France was successfully reprocessing its waste but that was later shown not to be the case and the attempt was abandoned 10 years ago.

France and Europe, in general, have troubles when they get heat waves. At the very time more power is needed for AC, nuclear plants are forced to shut down due to a lack of water to cool them.

Heatwave shuts down nuclear power plants

Same thing's happened in Michigan.

Northeast of Chicago, American Electric Power Co. shut down one of two nuclear reactors in Bridgman, Michigan, yesterday after lake water, used to cool the facility, pushed readings in the containment building to 120 degrees, spokesman William Schalk said.

I also seen a lot of people talking about how safe nuclear is. Unfortunately, they may have the impression that there have been no nuclear accidents in North America since Three Mile Island. In fact, there have been numerous leaks and problems. Here's something from the NYT concerning radioactive leaks at several US reactor locations:

Nuclear Reactors Found to Be Leaking Radioactive Water

Here's a more complete list of worldwide nuclear accidents from wikipedia.

The market price of uranium has more than quadrupled in the past 6 years. It is expected to double again this year. New nuclear plants won't come online for at least 10 years. How much will the US pay for (mostly) foreign uranium? Is America jumping out the the oil frying pan into the nuclear fire? As a chief supplier of uranium, should Canada be worried with regard to mining and transportation safety issues?

Nuclear waste must be guarded by armed personnel 24/7 for the next millenium or two. Reprocessed nuclear waste is much more radioactive and can be the fuel of a very dirty bomb. Do we have so much faith in government as to think it will be here conscientiously guarding the ever-growing stockpiles 2 or 3 thousand years from now? Here in Canada, that guard duty is being shifted from public to private responsibility. Will the rent-a-cops be as diligent as Dudley Dooright?


Monday, August 06, 2007

Navel-gazing in the Canadian Blogosphere

Whooee! Elijah, over to The Experiment, seems to have just noticed that the Canajun boogeysphere spends a lotta time navel-gazin’, nit-pickin' and contemplatin’ conspiracies. Elijah is complainin' that too many Pergressive Boogers is kvetchin' about possible gummint censorship and not enough is boogin' on important news, 'specially the Asian monsoons and the floods that been killin' so many hunnerts of poor souls in Bangladesh an' India. Elijah seems to be disgruntled an' discouraged by the pettiness of us boogers.

Not so hasty, sez I. This whole personal publishing power to the people is relatively new. Boogin’ publishers is just tryin’ to stake their claim in the infoworld. We’re neofighters in a field that goes back to Gutenberg.

While there were a few ProgBloggers yammerin’ about gummint boog-blockin’, there were plenty of others postin’ on other stuff. Some of the ones postin’ on the boog ban was also postin’ on stuff like MMP, SPP, DND, Hillier, O’Connor, handguns, arctic sovereignty, EyeRack, EyeRan, Mother Earth, nuclear energy, Harper, Bush and a whole raft of other topics.

There were hardly any (I didn’t see more than 1 or 2) PB boogs on the bridge collapse. And, yer right, there weren’t much on the Asia floods, neither. I see in Elijah's own 10 most recent posts, there’s nothin’ about them floods. Don’t he care, either?

The purpose of aggregators, like PB, is to give a quick choice of a variety of boog stories so’s the readers can choose which ones to bother readin’. There’s a wide variety of topics. Sure, there’s a little too much navel-gazin’ an’ introspective paranoia. There’s back’n'forth flame wars. There’s cheap shots and name-callin’. Welcome to the internets.

A week after the catastrophe, the bigass MSM is still carryin’ the bridge story as their lede while the Asian floods are on the back pages. This Merka-centric reportage is so typical that it gets little notice or is felt to be not worth mentioning.

Boogers often do write about disasters and often post links to sites where readers can donate to relief efforts. Not every single booger is gonna write about what Elijah’d prefer. Drawin’ conclusions from what is NOT written is speculative and doesn’t prove anything, sez I. I’ve never written about the Rwanda genocide. Does that mean that you can accurately interpret the lack of written work as a lack of concern?

I reckon a lotta PBer’s would really welcome a well-written boog story comparin’ the coverage of Minneapolis and Bangladesh.

Boogers is just individuals. We ain’t got bigass expense accounts to send ourselves to Bangladesh. We still depend on the MSM to report hard news from faraway places. If you started boogin’ and thought it was an alternative to the MSM, you were wrong. Fer the most part, boogs are opinion pieces. Maybe someday boogs’ll be an alternative news source. Right now, they’re mostly an alternative Op-Ed source.


PS: Most o' this here boog story was originally posted as a comment at The Experiment.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Thursday, August 02, 2007

True Confessions: JimBobby Contemplated Murder

Whooee! I been in a yammerin' gabfest on a coupla threads over to Scotty Tribe's DiaTribe boog. The topic is gun control, banned weapons and crime prevention. Some folks think anybody should be able to own any kinda weapon and should only be subject to legal intervention if they use that weapon in an illegal manner. I ain't on that side o' the argument.

I reckon we gotta make it tough fer people to get ahold of some weapons and impossible to get ahold of others. I ain't some sorta nanny-state socialist, though. I'm a left libertarian. I figger my rights extend to the point where I'm steppin' on somebody else's rights but I also figger society has a right to protect itself from deadly weaponry. I also understand that bans can create a black market in illegal weapons and can possibly increase crime.

Okay, let me tell you a true story of how gun control prevented a crime.

About 10 years ago, my then 25 year old son was viciously attacked by two men in Port Dover, Ontario. The attack was unprovoked. They "accused" my son of being gay and they beat him for that (mistaken) assumption. He was beaten unconscious and kicked in the face after he was out cold. We knew who did it and the assault was reported to police. The OPP investigated and during the investigation, the attackers threatened witnesses with death should they choose to testify. Eventually, reduced charges were laid and one of the attackers walked away uncharged while the other got probation and a $1000 fine.

Now, let's go back about 20 years.

Back then, I considered purchasing a rifle for target practice and perhaps for varmint shootin'. I looked into gettin' my Firearms Acquisition Certificate (FAC). I decided that I didn't wanna be bothered with takin' a course and I didn't really care that much about ownin' a gun. I brushed it off as a whim and didn't think about it much… until after my son was attacked.

For about a month after my son was beaten, while the bad guys were threatening everyone, I slept with a tire iron beside the bed.

But my thoughts were far from defensive. I secretly plotted to stalk and kill the guys who disfigured my boy. I kicked myself for failing to follow through and get my FAC. I longed for a high-powered sniper rifle so I could eliminate the scum from the community. BTW, this is the very first time I've admitted to my murderous intentions, even Ma don't know what I was plottin'.

Today, I'm still angry at the attackers. They got off easy. That said, I'm also relieved that I hadn't followed through with my original quest for gun ownership. I have almost no doubt that I would have lain in wait and shot those guys. I considered looking for an illegal weapon but I figgered I'd probably get caught if I went out right after my son got beat up and started lookin' fer a huntin' rifle. If I'd already had one, I'd have used it.

Today, I'm glad that I don't have murder on my conscience and the only reason I don't is that I didn't own a gun when murderous thoughts consumed me.

That's one example of crime prevention through gun control. I really don't think I'm the only Canajun who's ever contemplated murder (or suicide) and who's abandoned those thoughts after coolin' off.


PS - Most o' this here boog story was posted as a comment at Scott's boog.