February 4, 2012

“Fake the oath” to become the new “Jump the shark”

Filed under: Cancon, Government, Media — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 12:26

Chris Selley wonders why anyone outside the Ottawa media bubble would care about the Sun Media (or as Paul Wells usually spells it in his tweets, “Sun Meida”) faking the citizenship ceremony for a TV broadcast:

“Let’s do it. We can fake the Oath.” That is the universally accepted money quote, courtesy of a Sun News producer, to come out of this week’s fracas involving the fledgling cable news network, the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration and a citizenship ceremony that wasn’t quite what it seemed. On Oct. 19, during Citizenship Week, Sun viewers were told they were watching 10 people become Canadian citizens. Instead they were watching 10 citizens, six of whom were federal bureaucrats, reaffirm their Canadian citizenship.

“Congratulations to all of the new Canadians here,” co-host Alex Pierson gushed. “Ten of you here at Sun News Network, finally Canadian citizens!”

“Fake the Oath” certainly has the ring of legend. I think it could be to the Canadian media what “jump the shark” is to situation comedy. An example: “Oh for God’s sake, [insert media outlet], a talking dog on YouTube is news now? You guys have finally faked the Oath!”

But having gone through the documents behind this story, which were obtained by Canadian Press through Access to Information, I’m struggling to understand the amount of coverage this story got. Well, OK, I sort of understand it: Pointing and laughing at Sun Media is a national pastime among journalists and liberals these days. What I can’t figure out is how this matters.

When Canada’s Department of Transport became transphobic

Filed under: Bureaucracy, Cancon, Government, Liberty — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 11:48

Tabatha Southey has an interesting article in the Globe & Mail. I was unaware that the Canadian Forces now support transitioning transgendered soldiers (and have done for more than a decade), but that another branch of the government headed in quite the opposite direction last year:

While I think we should take the transgender community’s word for it — that transitioning works to transform often excruciatingly unhappy gender-dysphoric people into contented people — there are lots of studies that back them up as well.

It’s hardly something that anyone would do for kicks. Transitioning isn’t for sissies, which is why it’s heart-warming that our military made a practical and humane decision to accommodate transgender soldiers. And it’s also why it’s unfortunate that since July, 2011, a Department of Transport rule has been on the books that could prevent those same transitioning soldiers from flying home for Christmas.

The existence of this rule was brought to light this week by blogger Jennifer McCreath. It states that if “a passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents,” that person is not allowed to fly.

I’m prepared to believe those who say transgender and inter-sex people aren’t the demographic the rule aims to catch, but that leaves me wondering who it is the authorities are trying to nab.

In praise of Her Majesty the Queen

Filed under: Britain, Cancon, History, Media — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 11:33

Conrad Black goes full monarch in his latest column:

The Queen has an outstanding record of absolutely unblemished service, through tumultuous changes and always having to endure suggestions of impending obsolescence — not just of the monarchy itself, but of its various separate functions, especially the ambiguous positions of head of the Commonwealth and supreme governor of the Church of England.

The 1950s were a constant round of independence ceremonies, mainly for countries that had a very rocky start and little aptitude for premature emancipation from unfashionable colonials status. This made for ever larger and more incongruous Commonwealth meetings, as the shared British traditions that supposedly united the “British Dominions, realms and territories beyond the seas” frayed and became always more threadbare except, perhaps, among the former so-called “white Dominions.”

In this present time of glaring, intrusive, nasty media, it is hard to imagine the proportions of the Queen’s achievement in serving 60 years, every one of them as one of the most prominent and publicized people in the world, without one gaffe, one embarrassing photograph, one injudicious utterance or slip on a banana peel, literal or metaphoric.

[. . .]

Queen Elizabeth II has personified the British middle-class virtues: moderation, unflamboyant consistency and unflappable reliability. It hasn’t always been exciting, and in satirical magazines such as Private Eye and on the BBC, she has paid a price for that and was lampooned for decades for stiff formality and stilted phrases — “My husband and I,” etc.

The true slippery slope in the Ian Thomson case

Filed under: Cancon, Law, Liberty — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 11:24

Rex Murphy gets to the bottom of the crown’s odd fixation on prosecuting Ian Thomson for successfully scaring off arsonists who attempted to burn his house down around him:

Mr. Thomson is alive, his house stands, but the Crown is still busy with him. Why is this man being punished for self-defence? Why are the Crown prosecutors making his already tormented life more miserable?

I can only suggest it is because in this, as in similar cases, our caring authorities are uncomfortable with the idea of a citizenry that retains some common sense and courage when it comes to self-protection or the protection of their property. Why, here in Toronto two years ago, a Chinese-Canadian merchant was himself charged with nothing less than “kidnapping” when he, with some help, captured a chronic shoplifter and thief. The “kidnapping” amounted to holding the wretch that was robbing him till the police arrived. They charged the storekeeper after making a deal with the thief. If this is not dread of a resourceful citizenry, then what is it?

Here’s another theory: Perhaps we have subscribed to the Thomas de Quincey school of criminology. De Quincy, as every schoolboy knows, was the great 19th-century author and essayist, the creator of the classic Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. He also penned two satirical, fearsomely prescient essays, beginning in 1827, on Murder Considered as one of the Fine Arts. In the second of these, he outlined an interesting perspective on how dabbling in one form of crime can gradually, almost imperceptibly, lead to other, more horrific, desperate and truly despicable matters:

“For if once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; and from robbing he comes next to drinking and Sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination … Many a man has dated his ruin from some murder or other that perhaps he thought little of at the time.” Very wise words indeed.

James Delingpole in the Daily Mail

Filed under: Environment, Media, Politics, Science — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 11:03

A somewhat longer article than his usual Telegraph pieces:

Just imagine a world where you never had to worry about global warming, where the ice caps, the ‘drowning’ Maldives and the polar bears were all doing just fine.

Imagine a world where CO2 was our friend, fossil fuels were a miracle we should cherish, and economic growth made the planet cleaner, healthier, happier and with more open spaces.

Actually, there’s no need to imagine: it already exists. So why do so many people still believe otherwise?

[. . .]

The turning point towards some semblance of sanity in the great climate war came in November 2009 with the leak of the notorious Climategate emails from the University of East Anglia.

What these showed is that the so-called ‘consensus’ science behind Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) — ie the theory that man-made CO2 is causing our planet to heat up in a dangerous, unprecedented fashion — simply cannot be trusted.

The experts had, for years, been twisting the evidence, abusing the scientific process, breaching Freedom of Information requests (by illegally hiding or deleting emails and taxpayer-funded research) and silencing dissent in a way which removes all credibility from the scaremongering reports they write for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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