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Science under siege
« on: June 04, 2015, 11:32:17 PM »
It's from a Canadian perspective, but, some of it is worth a listen if you have the time:

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/science-under-siege-part-1-1.3091552

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2015, 01:43:53 AM »
It's from a Canadian perspective, but, some of it is worth a listen if you have the time:

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/science-under-siege-part-1-1.3091552
I might kill this thread, sorry. But I'm definitely going to listen to the two shows. I've been been turned on to the show since you mentioned it in another thread. Thanks! I don't agree with all but "Ideas" is great show. Not as impressed with some others (it seems our NPR has borrowed from your bland, hushed way of presenting, maybe, or the same virus. Are all people who listen think they are on a golf course or in some solemn ceremony?) but I enjoyed the brief one, on some CBC station, about the Pykrete and possibilities vis-a-vis Churchill and a sort-of floating "base" or air-craft carrier "Project Habakkuk!"

I won't comment until I listen. But my initial 2cents is that, yes, it is under assault. Both from corporate interests, government, public universities (who often need both corporate and government money for "research,") and religious (using that term very broadly because Hollywood types and odd minority groups have more influence now and are a sort of religion or belief system dictating how language or how results can be interpreted, defined, etc .) And, I would also add, because of the specialization of the "sciences" and funding that if certain "sciences" find the "wrong" hypothesis correct, even initially, it will be ignored or suppressed. And not tested again, lest we offend.

ps: I guess I did comment before I listened ;) But I will and thank you for initially showing be the podcasts.

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2015, 02:28:40 AM »
I might kill this thread, sorry. But I'm definitely going to listen to the two shows. I've been been turned on to the show since you mentioned it in another thread. Thanks! I don't agree with all but "Ideas" is great show. Not as impressed with some others (it seems our NPR has borrowed from your bland, hushed way of presenting, maybe, or the same virus. Are all people who listen think they are on a golf course or in some solemn ceremony?) but I enjoyed the brief one, on some CBC station, about the Pykrete and possibilities vis-a-vis Churchill and a sort-of floating "base" or air-craft carrier "Project Habakkuk!"

I won't comment until I listen. But my initial 2cents is that, yes, it is under assault. Both from corporate interests, government, public universities (who often need both corporate and government money for "research,") and religious (using that term very broadly because Hollywood types and odd minority groups have more influence now and are a sort of religion or belief system dictating how language or how results can be interpreted, defined, etc .) And, I would also add, because of the specialization of the "sciences" and funding that if certain "sciences" find the "wrong" hypothesis correct, even initially, it will be ignored or suppressed. And not tested again, lest we offend.

ps: I guess I did comment before I listened ;) But I will and thank you for initially showing be the podcasts.

The Pykrete thing was on a program called The Current. I don't believe I've previously posted to a program from Ideas before.  Ideas is a quality program but it largely has a left leaning perspective.  That is somewhat balanced by 2 CBC shows; Cross Country Checkup which is hosted by the (Canadian) right wing at least, Rex Murphy and The 180, which is so named because it promotes contrarian ideas, though they can be from either the left or the right.

I would recommend listening to The 180 because I would tend to think that anybody who listens to Coast to Coast (or at least listens to it when it isn't hosted by Noory) is into alternative ideas, but it's unfortunately almost exclusively into Canadian topics.
 
Rex Murphy used to be Chief of Staff to a Liberal Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador (then just Newfoundland), possibly Joey Smallwood, but I forget, but he is certainly right leaning ideologically now and it's likely, that despite being the Liberal Premier that Joey Smallwood was also right wing, he was certainly autocratic and some what authoritarian, though I doubt he was anywhere near as authoritarian as the last straight out right wing Premier of Quebec (at least long serving Premier of Quebec) Maurice Duplessis.  Duplessis is briefly mentioned in the second episode, though like the scientist accuses Stephen Harper, I too don't know my Canadian history well enough to know what that scientist was accusing Duplessis of.

Duplessis was an absolute monster (google Duplessis Orphans). 

Smallwood certainly favored government involvement in the economy both for (mostly failed) economic development purposes and also to practice patronage (likely far more the latter) but this was pretty common for the time even for many Premiers who were on the right, just look up Peter Lougheed, his Social Credit predecessors or WAC Bennett here in B.C.

Peter Lougheed I believe started up a public provincial airline among other government run business ventures, while WAC Bennett nationalized the hydro and gas companies and maybe the ferries as well among other things.  In WAC Bennett's case this was after criticizing the opposition CCF (now NDP) for proposing to nationalize them during an election campaign.  Holy Zap Your Frozen Batman!

Again, be aware that this program is heavily into Canadian issues regarding science and government and you may not be as familiar with the issues.


Re: Science under siege
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2015, 12:48:39 PM »
It's from a Canadian perspective, but, some of it is worth a listen if you have the time:

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/science-under-siege-part-1-1.3091552

That`s 4 minutes of my life I can`t ever get back. Who the hell cares what Canadians think aboot anything??

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2015, 02:15:34 PM »
Both from corporate interests, government, public universities (who often need both corporate and government money for "research,") and religious (using that term very broadly because Hollywood types and odd minority groups have more influence now and are a sort of religion or belief system dictating how language or how results can be interpreted, defined, etc .)

Have you ever read The True Believer by Eric Hoffer?

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2015, 02:20:24 PM »
That`s 4 minutes of my life I can`t ever get back. Who the hell cares what Canadians think aboot anything??

...and that's why people hate America.

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2015, 02:33:49 PM »
That`s 4 minutes of my life I can`t ever get back. Who the hell cares what Canadians think aboot anything??

Being Canadian, I would apologize to you for this. But, seriously, what part of "it's mostly from a Canadian perspective" went over your brilliant American head?

The first 15-20 minutes of the first episode are entirely Canadian and I don't think they discuss the situation in the U.S at all, but some of the show is more generic including their theories as to why scientists have so much trouble communicating with the general public (their discussions are far too technical which is necessary given how advanced science is) and an examination of the history of science and public reaction to it.

My biggest complaint is that it's somewhat repetitive and probably should either have been cut to one episode or more topics should have been brought up.

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2015, 06:46:44 PM »
Being Canadian, I would apologize to you for this. But, seriously, what part of "it's mostly from a Canadian perspective" went over your brilliant American head?

The first 15-20 minutes of the first episode are entirely Canadian and I don't think they discuss the situation in the U.S at all, but some of the show is more generic including their theories as to why scientists have so much trouble communicating with the general public (their discussions are far too technical which is necessary given how advanced science is) and an examination of the history of science and public reaction to it.

My biggest complaint is that it's somewhat repetitive and probably should either have been cut to one episode or more topics should have been brought up.

Dearest Canadian,

I hate to break this to you, but FightTheFuture's comment was entirely tongue-in-cheek. The give-away was the obligatory "aboot." Yes, he was just joking. Did I tell you I have a new-ish Canadian son-in-law? Once, as we were walking to a restaurant inside one of those massive, stuccoed, multi-use strip-center affairs, my son-in-law chanced to step into a pharmacy drive-through lane. At that very moment, an Ancient Mariner, in coke bottle glasses and with hearing aids on both ears, was re-living a moment of youthful Roadster-glory, and tore up the lane like a bat outta hell (sorry, I seem to be stuck on Meatloaf this week). Now, a Canadian in high dudgeon is most entertaining to the average American, especially when playing the school-marm. My son-in-law proceeded to inform the old duffer that his behavior was simply "not proper (you have to be Canadian to say "proper," properly)!" He then attempted to enlist by-standers to agree with his Proclamation of Universal Pedestrian Rights! Naturally, this prompted the Americans to respond with, "Go, Grampy, go Grampy, go Grampy, go!" I thought that this truly was the time my son-in-law would implode, but lo, another Canadian, albeit a Newfie, was present in the crowd and began to opine that drivers' licences were a privilege that ought rightfully to be revoked at a certain point in life, and here was a clear example. Clearly, Newfies are good for something! And, oh yes, I find Americans equally entertaining, so I married one.

A Friendly Foreigner


Re: Science under siege
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2015, 06:52:24 PM »
Dearest Canadian,

I hate to break this to you, but FightTheFuture's comment was entirely tongue-in-cheek. The give-away was the obligatory "aboot." Yes, he was just joking. Did I tell you I have a new-ish Canadian son-in-law? Once, as we were walking to a restaurant inside one of those massive, stuccoed, multi-use strip-center affairs, my son-in-law chanced to step into a pharmacy drive-through lane. At that very moment, an Ancient Mariner, in coke bottle glasses and with hearing aids on both ears, was re-living a moment of youthful Roadster-glory, and tore up the lane like a bat outta hell (sorry, I seem to be stuck on Meatloaf this week). Now, a Canadian in high dudgeon is most entertaining to the average American, especially when playing the school-marm. My son-in-law proceeded to inform the old duffer that his behavior was simply "not proper (you have to be Canadian to say "proper," properly)!" He then attempted to enlist by-standers to agree with his Proclamation of Universal Pedestrian Rights! Naturally, this prompted the Americans to respond with, "Go, Grampy, go Grampy, go Grampy, go!" I thought that this truly was the time my son-in-law would implode, but lo, another Canadian, albeit a Newfie, was present in the crowd and began to opine that drivers' licences were a privilege that ought rightfully to be revoked at a certain point in life, and here was a clear example. Clearly, Newfies are good for something! And, oh yes, I find Americans equally entertaining, so I married one.

A Friendly Foreigner


I hadn't caught the 'aboot.'

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2015, 12:09:18 AM »
Dearest Canadian,

I hate to break this to you, but FightTheFuture's comment was entirely tongue-in-cheek. The give-away was the obligatory "aboot." Yes, he was just joking. Did I tell you I have a new-ish Canadian son-in-law? Once, as we were walking to a restaurant inside one of those massive, stuccoed, multi-use strip-center affairs, my son-in-law chanced to step into a pharmacy drive-through lane. At that very moment, an Ancient Mariner, in coke bottle glasses and with hearing aids on both ears, was re-living a moment of youthful Roadster-glory, and tore up the lane like a bat outta hell (sorry, I seem to be stuck on Meatloaf this week). Now, a Canadian in high dudgeon is most entertaining to the average American, especially when playing the school-marm. My son-in-law proceeded to inform the old duffer that his behavior was simply "not proper (you have to be Canadian to say "proper," properly)!" He then attempted to enlist by-standers to agree with his Proclamation of Universal Pedestrian Rights! Naturally, this prompted the Americans to respond with, "Go, Grampy, go Grampy, go Grampy, go!" I thought that this truly was the time my son-in-law would implode, but lo, another Canadian, albeit a Newfie, was present in the crowd and began to opine that drivers' licences were a privilege that ought rightfully to be revoked at a certain point in life, and here was a clear example. Clearly, Newfies are good for something! And, oh yes, I find Americans equally entertaining, so I married one.

A Friendly Foreigner



I realized he was in part making a joke, but I don't agree that his comment was entirely tongue in cheek.  I personally think he was genuinely pissed about the program being Canadian based.  Even if I'm wrong about that, given that I said from the outset that the show was largely focused on Canada, his joke was misplaced.

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2015, 09:40:35 AM »
Dearest Canadian,

I hate to break this to you, but FightTheFuture's comment was entirely tongue-in-cheek. The give-away was the obligatory "aboot." Yes, he was just joking. Did I tell you I have a new-ish Canadian son-in-law? Once, as we were walking to a restaurant inside one of those massive, stuccoed, multi-use strip-center affairs, my son-in-law chanced to step into a pharmacy drive-through lane. At that very moment, an Ancient Mariner, in coke bottle glasses and with hearing aids on both ears, was re-living a moment of youthful Roadster-glory, and tore up the lane like a bat outta hell (sorry, I seem to be stuck on Meatloaf this week). Now, a Canadian in high dudgeon is most entertaining to the average American, especially when playing the school-marm. My son-in-law proceeded to inform the old duffer that his behavior was simply "not proper (you have to be Canadian to say "proper," properly)!" He then attempted to enlist by-standers to agree with his Proclamation of Universal Pedestrian Rights! Naturally, this prompted the Americans to respond with, "Go, Grampy, go Grampy, go Grampy, go!" I thought that this truly was the time my son-in-law would implode, but lo, another Canadian, albeit a Newfie, was present in the crowd and began to opine that drivers' licences were a privilege that ought rightfully to be revoked at a certain point in life, and here was a clear example. Clearly, Newfies are good for something! And, oh yes, I find Americans equally entertaining, so I married one.

A Friendly Foreigner




 ;)

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2015, 01:38:32 PM »
I realized he was in part making a joke, but I don't agree that his comment was entirely tongue in cheek.  I personally think he was genuinely pissed about the program being Canadian based.  Even if I'm wrong about that, given that I said from the outset that the show was largely focused on Canada, his joke was misplaced.

Are you sure you're Canadian? If so, you seem to be suffering from a cultur-o-linguistical misinterpretation and a surplus of anger rare to your species, though I've heard that Canadians are supposedly tastier. Even my son-in-law gets over himself rather quickly (Newfie intervention is a rare necessity, thankfully) and, even better, he doesn't take himself and his pronouncements so seriously that he can't even laugh (otherwise he would not be married to my daughter, you understand). There was absolutely nothing in FtF's one-liner that expressed "genuine piss" - only taking the piss. He was teasing you, dude. Have a Molson's on me (somebody has to drink that awful stuff - a joke, a joke! Hold your fire).

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2015, 12:55:17 AM »
Are you sure you're Canadian? If so, you seem to be suffering from a cultur-o-linguistical misinterpretation and a surplus of anger rare to your species, though I've heard that Canadians are supposedly tastier. Even my son-in-law gets over himself rather quickly (Newfie intervention is a rare necessity, thankfully) and, even better, he doesn't take himself and his pronouncements so seriously that he can't even laugh (otherwise he would not be married to my daughter, you understand). There was absolutely nothing in FtF's one-liner that expressed "genuine piss" - only taking the piss. He was teasing you, dude. Have a Molson's on me (somebody has to drink that awful stuff - a joke, a joke! Hold your fire).

I can assure you FTF's attempt at humor did not annoy me in any way because I'm a Canadian or because I take my pronouncements so seriously I don't want them to be made fun of.  It 'annoyed' me because, as I had thoroughly explained that it was from a Canadian perspective, the joke made no sense.

As to Molson's, I don't drink that or any other beer.

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2015, 01:22:27 AM »
I can assure you FTF's attempt at humor did not annoy me in any way because I'm a Canadian or because I take my pronouncements so seriously I don't want them to be made fun of.  It 'annoyed' me because, as I had thoroughly explained that it was from a Canadian perspective, the joke made no sense.

As to Molson's, I don't drink that or any other beer.

Oy, gevalt, laddie. It's why when people hear me speak, no matter what I say or upon which subject I am so winsomely opining, they make jokes about men in kilts. When Canadians speak or write, there is an obligatory 'aboot.' I'm only surprised he didn't mention 'hoser,' although the precise definition of hoser is perhaps something upon which you could enlighten us.

A Canadian who doesn't drink beer? Wow. What do all 3 of you do during the hockey games?

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2015, 01:32:11 AM »
Oy, gevalt, laddie. It's why when people hear me speak, no matter what I say or upon which subject I am so winsomely opining, they make jokes about men in kilts. When Canadians speak or write, there is an obligatory 'aboot.' I'm only surprised he didn't mention 'hoser,' although the precise definition of hoser is perhaps something upon which you could enlighten us.

A Canadian who doesn't drink beer? Wow. What do all 3 of you do during the hockey games?

Hoser I believe originated from the Bob and Doug McKenzie on SCTV.  I actually haven't heard anybody from Canada or outside of Canada use that term in years.

I did find the aboot bit funny,  though the only person I've heard who actually said it was that guest on Coast a couple weeks ago who came from the Appalachians.

The rest of us drink water or iced tea.

In general, I can assure you I'm Easy:


Don't care for the film though.  If you want a genuinely hate filled person, I'd suggest Robert Altman.

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2015, 01:40:15 AM »
Are you sure you're Canadian? If so, you seem to be suffering from a cultur-o-linguistical misinterpretation and a surplus of anger rare to your species, though I've heard that Canadians are supposedly tastier. Even my son-in-law gets over himself rather quickly (Newfie intervention is a rare necessity, thankfully) and, even better, he doesn't take himself and his pronouncements so seriously that he can't even laugh (otherwise he would not be married to my daughter, you understand). There was absolutely nothing in FtF's one-liner that expressed "genuine piss" - only taking the piss. He was teasing you, dude. Have a Molson's on me (somebody has to drink that awful stuff - a joke, a joke! Hold your fire).

Molson's is the Foster's of Canada (see Jazmunda's opinion of Foster's).

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2015, 02:55:14 AM »
Hooray for Canadians!!!





Re: Science under siege
« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2015, 03:09:01 AM »
Stephen Harper is not exactly the person I'd like to be known for representing me.  He is a truly evil person and the people he has around him are nearly all nasty.

That aside, 21st Century Man, you might like this episode on science and religion.  It is pro science but it is respectful of people with religious views:

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/tapestry

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2015, 03:35:08 AM »
Stephen Harper is not exactly the person I'd like to be known for representing me.  He is a truly evil person and the people he has around him are nearly all nasty.

That aside, 21st Century Man, you might like this episode on science and religion.  It is pro science but it is respectful of people with religious views:

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/tapestry

LOL.  I honestly don't know much about Harper or Canadian politics to really make a judgment about him.  What I do think is he appears to be a lot better than my President according to the things I've heard.  That said I'm pretty jaded and my trust in politicians in general has reached a lifetime low.  How about we switch Presidents?  You can have Obama and we will see how Harper does here.

Still, I posted the picture simply to see if I would get a rise out of you.  I'm sorry about that but a little demon whispered in my ear.  You're a good man, 136.

I'll give it a listen.

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2015, 01:39:25 PM »
Hoser I believe originated from the Bob and Doug McKenzie on SCTV.  I actually haven't heard anybody from Canada or outside of Canada use that term in years.

I did find the aboot bit funny,  though the only person I've heard who actually said it was that guest on Coast a couple weeks ago who came from the Appalachians.... Yes, that's why Americans use it when referring to Canadians. Thanks to Bob and Doug, that's what Americans find quintessentially Canadian. As it happens (a program to which I have spent many hours listening), I say "aboot," because it is part of my native dialect of English. I will be charging royalties for any future infringement in light of what you say.

The rest of us drink water or iced tea....The American influence, no doubt.

In general, I can assure you I'm Easy....And how did you feel about your mother? Hmm?

Don't care for the film though.  If you want a genuinely hate filled person, I'd suggest Robert Altman...Robert Altman, the director? Why was he hate-filled? Sorry, I don't know anything about him. I read the Wikipedia article, because it was, uh, easy, but it does not mention hate-filled episodes. Unless you have a different Robert Altman in mind?

As for the actual topic of the thread, I don't believe science is under siege. I think people like to increase their sense of self-importance and value by claiming to be under attack. Run for cover, boys! The creationists are out in force! Of course, many people believe in "science" as an ideology with very little grasp of what "science" can and cannot tell us, and with little grasp of how it works and or how it is funded (the bugaboo of all glorious revolutions). At my university (and all I have ever visited, save strictly liberal arts institutions), the sciences make up the largest departments with the largest funding and pay their professors the highest salaries. Government grants in STEM fields often fully service the ride of the grad students working on them (my wife's doctorate was paid for by this method - she worked on a government grant dealing with fracture mechanics in return for tuition, books and a stipend - sweet!). I do realize that there are nut-balls in the world, but they seem to be having little effect and their attempt to influence public school boards in the USA has largely gone down to defeat. I think one of the biggest problems facing "science," especially in the educational sense, is damn shitty instruction - the emphasis, after all, is on bringing in grants, not on teaching. I could go on, but I must go to work, so I have to cut myself off here.

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2015, 01:53:03 PM »
As for the actual topic of the thread, I don't believe science is under siege. I think people like to increase their sense of self-importance and value by claiming to be under attack. Run for cover, boys! The creationists are out in force! Of course, many people believe in "science" as an ideology with very little grasp of what "science" can and cannot tell us, and with little grasp of how it works and or how it is funded (the bugaboo of all glorious revolutions). At my university (and all I have ever visited, save strictly liberal arts institutions), the sciences make up the largest departments with the largest funding and pay their professors the highest salaries. Government grants in STEM fields often fully service the ride of the grad students working on them (my wife's doctorate was paid for by this method - she worked on a government grant dealing with fracture mechanics in return for tuition, books and a stipend - sweet!). I do realize that there are nut-balls in the world, but they seem to be having little effect and their attempt to influence public school boards in the USA has largely gone down to defeat. I think one of the biggest problems facing "science," especially in the educational sense, is damn shitty instruction - the emphasis, after all, is on bringing in grants, not on teaching. I could go on, but I must go to work, so I have to cut myself off here.

The show had nothing to do with university but was about the, according to them, increasing degree to which the public is listening to pseudo-science or falling for dishonest attacks on science.  Given that, as far as I know, nonsense like astrology has always maintained roughly the same far too high level of popularity, I'm not sure that I agree with that.

From the Canadian perspective however, the show was about the Harper government's attack on science and scientists which is both real and a problem.

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2015, 02:19:28 PM »
LOL.  I honestly don't know much about Harper or Canadian politics to really make a judgment about him.  What I do think is he appears to be a lot better than my President according to the things I've heard.  That said I'm pretty jaded and my trust in politicians in general has reached a lifetime low.  How about we switch Presidents?  You can have Obama and we will see how Harper does here.

Still, I posted the picture simply to see if I would get a rise out of you.  I'm sorry about that but a little demon whispered in my ear.  You're a good man, 136.

I'll give it a listen.

In regards to Harper, this article from a largely conservative columnist sums up Harper's term quite well.  To the degree that it is lacking (which I assume was only for space) it is because it doesn't mention Harper's contempt of democratic institutions, his contempt for democracy in many ways in general, or his authoritarian style.  That said, there are at least a couple positive things the Harper government has either done or tried to do that also aren't mentioned.

I'm posting the entire article here because it can't be seen who doesn't have access.

Brian Mulroney has an idea for Senate reform. And maybe it won’t work. Maybe it doesn’t go far enough. Maybe, given the hurricane of opprobrium about to befall Ottawa with the release Tuesday of auditor-general Michael Ferguson’s examination of Senate spending, it’s too late to salvage the Red Chamber at all.

But at least Mulroney has an idea: Appoint two eminent persons, a former auditor general and a former Supreme Court judge, and have them craft a new plan for Senate spending and residency, the former Tory prime minister told the Canadian Bar Association in Montreal last week. Then have the PM of the day appoint candidates from lists provided by the provinces.

Justin Trudeau, the Liberal leader, has an idea for Senate reform, too. He proposes to craft an arms-length process that would offer up potential nominees based on benchmarks of social merit. So eminent authors, artists, scientists, athletes and entrepreneurs might find their way into the Senate. To what extent this is feasible under the current Constitution, which requires that Senators be appointed by the PM, is a subject of debate. But heck, it’s an idea.

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair also has one of those, it so happens. His is to get medieval on the Senate’s carcass; blast it, pave it, make it a bowling alley, whatever: Just get rid of it. This is practically impossible, since the Supreme Court has judged abolition requires unanimous provincial consent, as well as agreement of the House and Senate. Even so it’s something. Fodder for thought, argument, comment and revision.

Now to the question: Where is Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s idea for Senate reform?

Term limits, elections, the whole triple-E packet offered up by the Harper Conservatives dating back to their dewy-eyed Reform Party years, have been off his to-do list since the Supreme Court ruled in April of 2014. His response has been to stop appointing new Senators. There are 20 vacancies now. There will be dozens more in the next few years. The laws of Canada are not, in fact, legal, unless passed by a functioning Senate. Therefore we actually need some Senators, breathing, speaking, voting. Or we need a Plan B. The PMO has had a year to develop Plan B. Where is it?

Back to Mulroney who, at the time he stepped aside in 1993, was considered the most popularly disliked Canadian leader ever. “He bugs us still,” wrote Peter C. Newman years later. Controversy followed Mulroney everywhere. His cabinet was a revolving door of ministers moving in and out due to various infractions and peccadillos. There was Meech, the rise of the Bloc, Charlottetown. Later there was, of course, the Schreiber affair.

But Mulroney got some very important, difficult things done; free trade with the United States and Mexico; an acid-rain treaty and Arctic sovereignty agreement with the United States.; the GST, which made it possible for Paul Martin in the mid-1990s to balance the books; and leadership among the Western democracies in the fight against South African apartheid.

Mulroney managed all this, and the headwaters of his constitutional failures, too, by focusing on the very big files; and by making it his business to forge personal bonds with every member of his caucus, including the backbenchers dismissed by his predecessor, Pierre Trudeau, as “nobodies.” Mulroney was, like him or loathe him, a terrifically skilled politician, and ambitious for the country to boot.

Second question: What has Stephen Harper accomplished that is difficult and important, beyond of course having held power for nearly a decade?

On aboriginal affairs, in the wake of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, there is the sound of crickets. On assisted suicide, despite a Supreme Court ruling months ago requiring a new law, crickets. On pipeline development, supposedly the very core of the nation’s economic future, there is a witless Twitter campaign by Conservative MPs against Tim Hortons, sparked by the donut chain’s spurning of ads for pipeline builder Enbridge­ — itself an idiotic cave-in to the now fashionable distaste for “Big Oil.”

Lost on the Tory Timbit warriors, seemingly, is that neither they nor their leader have extended the least energy, consumed the least political capital, in oh, two years, trying to persuade Canadians pipelines are environmentally safe and economically necessary.

Harper, his former director of communications wrote Friday in the Ottawa Citizen, “doesn’t see it as his job to be the comedian in chief, empathizer in chief, or bawler in chief.” That’s actually understating it a fair stretch: Based on the record, Harper doesn’t consider it his job to persuade anyone of anything, make an argument for anything other than the unsuitability of his opponents, or take a political risk ever, lest the ensuing spirited conversation awaken voters from their torpor.

In year 10, Stephen Harper leads a government without any apparent purpose, other than its own survival. It’s a vulnerable place to be, five months from judgment day.

The reason I assume those Americans who like him do is because they're only familiar with his tough words on Russia and the Islamic loons.  Well, Canada has very little trade with Russia (We do sell grain to them, but Putin could hardly let his people starve to get back at Harper) and so he has nothing to lose by talking tough.  Canada has also done very little against Isis in contrast to the supposedly weak Obama.

Obama has many faults, but, unlike Harper, he also genuine accomplishments.

Here, if you're still reading, is an article on Harper's dictatorial nature.  Written by Andrew Coyne, a genuinely principled conservative.

Thursday was a busy day for the Harper government. Consider just some of what went on:

• There was the continuing fallout over the revelation that officials in the Prime Minister’s Office had posted two videos online, taken during Stephen Harper’s recent visit to Iraq, that showed the faces of Canadian special forces soldiers — in violation of security protocols.

When brought to light, the PMO first insisted protocols had not been violated, then claimed the videos had been vetted by defence officials, then issued a slippery half-apology that was evasive and insincere even by their own standards. Thursday, the Toronto Star reported the PMO officials, who had promised to “review” the protocols, had been briefed on them, twice, before the trip.

• There was the entry into evidence at the Mike Duffy trial of emails, previously unreleased, spelling out how officials in the PMO, together with Conservative senators, conspired to tamper with an audit into the disgraced senator’s expenses, the better to encourage his silence. (In one email the prime minister’s then chief of staff, Nigel Wright, explains the rationale as being to “prevent him from going squirrelly in a bunch of weekend panel shows.”)

The emails, leaked to the press the day before, dominated Question Period, where virtually every question was answered, not by any responsible minister, but by Paul Calandra, MP. When last in the news, Calandra was sobbing in shame over the performance he had put on some days earlier in Question Period, when he had answered serious questions about serious matters — in that case, the military mission against ISIL — with personal attacks and irrelevant asides. He has apparently recovered.

• There was the similar performance by Pierre Poilievre, insisting — on the slimmest possible grounds — that the Liberal plan to cut taxes on the middle class was in fact a plan to raise taxes on the middle class. The minister followed it up with a fundraising email that scaled new heights of dishonesty. Not content with warning that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau would roll back higher limits on Tax Free Savings Accounts and cancel income-splitting for couples with children — Tory election promises the Liberals have indeed promised to repeal — it flatly declared that “he will cancel income-splitting for seniors,” and “take away Tax Free Savings Accounts altogether.”

• There was the laying of charges under the Canada Elections Act against Reg Bowers, official agent for former Conservative cabinet minister Peter Penashue during his 2011 election campaign. It was the controversy over that campaign that caused Penashue to step down from cabinet and run, unsuccessfully, in a byelection two years later.

•  There was the release of Omar Khadr from jail, an event as inevitable as it was predicted, but against which the Harper government has battled, futilely, for years. Governments of both parties, Liberal and Conservative, conspired in his interrogation, prosecution and incarceration at Guantanamo, as a juvenile, long after every other of its Western inmates had been released, in splendid disregard of his rights under either the Canadian or American constitution.

But it is the Harper government that has been the most eager to politicize the matter. With its case collapsed and Khadr released on bail, the Public Safety Minister, Steven Blaney, was careful to issue a statement noting that Trudeau had “refused to rule out special compensation for this convicted terrorist” while “the NDP actively tries to force Canadian taxpayers to compensate him.”

• There was the introduction of yet another omnibus budget bill, this one a comparatively slender 157 pages — a third the length of some of its predecessors — but packed as usual with many disparate pieces of legislation, 27 in all, only some of which were remotely budget-related. The current bill would authorize the government, inter alia, to take away the passports of suspected terrorists, to create a new police force for Parliament Hill, and to impose changes to the sick-leave provisions of public sector unions’ contracts, theoretically still being negotiated.

• There was the publication of a report by the prime minister’s former lawyer, Benjamin Perrin, attacking another piece of government legislation, the proposed Life Means Life Act, with its prescription of a mandatory minimum sentence for certain types of murder of life in prison without possibility of parole, ever. As written, the law would give neither judges nor parole boards any discretion in such cases, a provision Perrin argued was likely to be struck down by the courts as unconstitutional.

There was also the passage in the Commons on Wednesday night of Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015, a bill whose manifest overbreadth and potential for abuse has been flagged by scores of legal experts, some of whom were permitted to testify in the brief round of hearings allowed before the Commons public safety committee (following even briefer debate in the House), where as often as not they were subjected to lengthy harangues by Conservative MPs in place of questions.

The point is, this was all in the space of 24 hours. If one were to draw up an indictment of this government’s approach to politics and the public purpose, one might mention its wholesale contempt for Parliament, its disdain for the Charter of Rights and the courts’ role in upholding it, its penchant for secrecy, its chronic deceitfulness, its deepening ethical problems, its insistence on taking, at all times, the lowest, crudest path to its ends, its relentless politicization of everything.

But you’d think you would need to look back over its record over several years to find examples. You wouldn’t think to see them all spread before you in the course of a single day.

Again, these are both columns from two people who in principle largely share the same economic ideology of Harper.  If even his erstwhile allies 'hate' him, what more do you need to know about how evil he is?

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2015, 12:12:17 AM »
In regards to Harper, this article from a largely conservative columnist sums up Harper's term quite well.  To the degree that it is lacking (which I assume was only for space) it is because it doesn't mention Harper's contempt of democratic institutions, his contempt for democracy in many ways in general, or his authoritarian style.  That said, there are at least a couple positive things the Harper government has either done or tried to do that also aren't mentioned.

I'm posting the entire article here because it can't be seen who doesn't have access.

Brian Mulroney has an idea for Senate reform. And maybe it won’t work. Maybe it doesn’t go far enough. Maybe, given the hurricane of opprobrium about to befall Ottawa with the release Tuesday of auditor-general Michael Ferguson’s examination of Senate spending, it’s too late to salvage the Red Chamber at all.

But at least Mulroney has an idea: Appoint two eminent persons, a former auditor general and a former Supreme Court judge, and have them craft a new plan for Senate spending and residency, the former Tory prime minister told the Canadian Bar Association in Montreal last week. Then have the PM of the day appoint candidates from lists provided by the provinces.

Justin Trudeau, the Liberal leader, has an idea for Senate reform, too. He proposes to craft an arms-length process that would offer up potential nominees based on benchmarks of social merit. So eminent authors, artists, scientists, athletes and entrepreneurs might find their way into the Senate. To what extent this is feasible under the current Constitution, which requires that Senators be appointed by the PM, is a subject of debate. But heck, it’s an idea.

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair also has one of those, it so happens. His is to get medieval on the Senate’s carcass; blast it, pave it, make it a bowling alley, whatever: Just get rid of it. This is practically impossible, since the Supreme Court has judged abolition requires unanimous provincial consent, as well as agreement of the House and Senate. Even so it’s something. Fodder for thought, argument, comment and revision.

Now to the question: Where is Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s idea for Senate reform?

Term limits, elections, the whole triple-E packet offered up by the Harper Conservatives dating back to their dewy-eyed Reform Party years, have been off his to-do list since the Supreme Court ruled in April of 2014. His response has been to stop appointing new Senators. There are 20 vacancies now. There will be dozens more in the next few years. The laws of Canada are not, in fact, legal, unless passed by a functioning Senate. Therefore we actually need some Senators, breathing, speaking, voting. Or we need a Plan B. The PMO has had a year to develop Plan B. Where is it?

Back to Mulroney who, at the time he stepped aside in 1993, was considered the most popularly disliked Canadian leader ever. “He bugs us still,” wrote Peter C. Newman years later. Controversy followed Mulroney everywhere. His cabinet was a revolving door of ministers moving in and out due to various infractions and peccadillos. There was Meech, the rise of the Bloc, Charlottetown. Later there was, of course, the Schreiber affair.

But Mulroney got some very important, difficult things done; free trade with the United States and Mexico; an acid-rain treaty and Arctic sovereignty agreement with the United States.; the GST, which made it possible for Paul Martin in the mid-1990s to balance the books; and leadership among the Western democracies in the fight against South African apartheid.

Mulroney managed all this, and the headwaters of his constitutional failures, too, by focusing on the very big files; and by making it his business to forge personal bonds with every member of his caucus, including the backbenchers dismissed by his predecessor, Pierre Trudeau, as “nobodies.” Mulroney was, like him or loathe him, a terrifically skilled politician, and ambitious for the country to boot.

Second question: What has Stephen Harper accomplished that is difficult and important, beyond of course having held power for nearly a decade?

On aboriginal affairs, in the wake of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, there is the sound of crickets. On assisted suicide, despite a Supreme Court ruling months ago requiring a new law, crickets. On pipeline development, supposedly the very core of the nation’s economic future, there is a witless Twitter campaign by Conservative MPs against Tim Hortons, sparked by the donut chain’s spurning of ads for pipeline builder Enbridge­ — itself an idiotic cave-in to the now fashionable distaste for “Big Oil.”

Lost on the Tory Timbit warriors, seemingly, is that neither they nor their leader have extended the least energy, consumed the least political capital, in oh, two years, trying to persuade Canadians pipelines are environmentally safe and economically necessary.

Harper, his former director of communications wrote Friday in the Ottawa Citizen, “doesn’t see it as his job to be the comedian in chief, empathizer in chief, or bawler in chief.” That’s actually understating it a fair stretch: Based on the record, Harper doesn’t consider it his job to persuade anyone of anything, make an argument for anything other than the unsuitability of his opponents, or take a political risk ever, lest the ensuing spirited conversation awaken voters from their torpor.

In year 10, Stephen Harper leads a government without any apparent purpose, other than its own survival. It’s a vulnerable place to be, five months from judgment day.

The reason I assume those Americans who like him do is because they're only familiar with his tough words on Russia and the Islamic loons.  Well, Canada has very little trade with Russia (We do sell grain to them, but Putin could hardly let his people starve to get back at Harper) and so he has nothing to lose by talking tough.  Canada has also done very little against Isis in contrast to the supposedly weak Obama.

Obama has many faults, but, unlike Harper, he also genuine accomplishments.

Here, if you're still reading, is an article on Harper's dictatorial nature.  Written by Andrew Coyne, a genuinely principled conservative.

Thursday was a busy day for the Harper government. Consider just some of what went on:

• There was the continuing fallout over the revelation that officials in the Prime Minister’s Office had posted two videos online, taken during Stephen Harper’s recent visit to Iraq, that showed the faces of Canadian special forces soldiers — in violation of security protocols.

When brought to light, the PMO first insisted protocols had not been violated, then claimed the videos had been vetted by defence officials, then issued a slippery half-apology that was evasive and insincere even by their own standards. Thursday, the Toronto Star reported the PMO officials, who had promised to “review” the protocols, had been briefed on them, twice, before the trip.

• There was the entry into evidence at the Mike Duffy trial of emails, previously unreleased, spelling out how officials in the PMO, together with Conservative senators, conspired to tamper with an audit into the disgraced senator’s expenses, the better to encourage his silence. (In one email the prime minister’s then chief of staff, Nigel Wright, explains the rationale as being to “prevent him from going squirrelly in a bunch of weekend panel shows.”)

The emails, leaked to the press the day before, dominated Question Period, where virtually every question was answered, not by any responsible minister, but by Paul Calandra, MP. When last in the news, Calandra was sobbing in shame over the performance he had put on some days earlier in Question Period, when he had answered serious questions about serious matters — in that case, the military mission against ISIL — with personal attacks and irrelevant asides. He has apparently recovered.

• There was the similar performance by Pierre Poilievre, insisting — on the slimmest possible grounds — that the Liberal plan to cut taxes on the middle class was in fact a plan to raise taxes on the middle class. The minister followed it up with a fundraising email that scaled new heights of dishonesty. Not content with warning that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau would roll back higher limits on Tax Free Savings Accounts and cancel income-splitting for couples with children — Tory election promises the Liberals have indeed promised to repeal — it flatly declared that “he will cancel income-splitting for seniors,” and “take away Tax Free Savings Accounts altogether.”

• There was the laying of charges under the Canada Elections Act against Reg Bowers, official agent for former Conservative cabinet minister Peter Penashue during his 2011 election campaign. It was the controversy over that campaign that caused Penashue to step down from cabinet and run, unsuccessfully, in a byelection two years later.

•  There was the release of Omar Khadr from jail, an event as inevitable as it was predicted, but against which the Harper government has battled, futilely, for years. Governments of both parties, Liberal and Conservative, conspired in his interrogation, prosecution and incarceration at Guantanamo, as a juvenile, long after every other of its Western inmates had been released, in splendid disregard of his rights under either the Canadian or American constitution.

But it is the Harper government that has been the most eager to politicize the matter. With its case collapsed and Khadr released on bail, the Public Safety Minister, Steven Blaney, was careful to issue a statement noting that Trudeau had “refused to rule out special compensation for this convicted terrorist” while “the NDP actively tries to force Canadian taxpayers to compensate him.”

• There was the introduction of yet another omnibus budget bill, this one a comparatively slender 157 pages — a third the length of some of its predecessors — but packed as usual with many disparate pieces of legislation, 27 in all, only some of which were remotely budget-related. The current bill would authorize the government, inter alia, to take away the passports of suspected terrorists, to create a new police force for Parliament Hill, and to impose changes to the sick-leave provisions of public sector unions’ contracts, theoretically still being negotiated.

• There was the publication of a report by the prime minister’s former lawyer, Benjamin Perrin, attacking another piece of government legislation, the proposed Life Means Life Act, with its prescription of a mandatory minimum sentence for certain types of murder of life in prison without possibility of parole, ever. As written, the law would give neither judges nor parole boards any discretion in such cases, a provision Perrin argued was likely to be struck down by the courts as unconstitutional.

There was also the passage in the Commons on Wednesday night of Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015, a bill whose manifest overbreadth and potential for abuse has been flagged by scores of legal experts, some of whom were permitted to testify in the brief round of hearings allowed before the Commons public safety committee (following even briefer debate in the House), where as often as not they were subjected to lengthy harangues by Conservative MPs in place of questions.

The point is, this was all in the space of 24 hours. If one were to draw up an indictment of this government’s approach to politics and the public purpose, one might mention its wholesale contempt for Parliament, its disdain for the Charter of Rights and the courts’ role in upholding it, its penchant for secrecy, its chronic deceitfulness, its deepening ethical problems, its insistence on taking, at all times, the lowest, crudest path to its ends, its relentless politicization of everything.

But you’d think you would need to look back over its record over several years to find examples. You wouldn’t think to see them all spread before you in the course of a single day.

Again, these are both columns from two people who in principle largely share the same economic ideology of Harper.  If even his erstwhile allies 'hate' him, what more do you need to know about how evil he is?

I read the articles.  The first one mentions what I think are legitimate criticisms of the Harper govt. but the criticisms in the second one are not dissimilar to the complaints we have about Obama here in the USA.  He has steamrolled over the Constitution and tried to increase his executive power using questionable tactics thereby reducing the power of Congress. The funny thing is Congress is apparently encouraging this power grab. I frankly don't have much use for any politicians these days. They are all bought off by corporate lobbyists and they do not reflect the will of the People anymore.

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #23 on: June 10, 2015, 12:58:59 AM »
21st Century Man, here is your reward for reading those articles:
http://www.macleans.ca/culture/arts/what-a-rush-how-an-unhip-trio-became-superstars/

What a Rush! How an unhip trio became superstars
It’s 2015, and yet the ‘terminally unhip’ Rush is one of the world’s biggest touring bands

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #24 on: June 10, 2015, 02:07:06 AM »
The show had nothing to do with university but was about the, according to them, increasing degree to which the public is listening to pseudo-science or falling for dishonest attacks on science.  Given that, as far as I know, nonsense like astrology has always maintained roughly the same far too high level of popularity, I'm not sure that I agree with that.

From the Canadian perspective however, the show was about the Harper government's attack on science and scientists which is both real and a problem.

Yes, I wished to broaden the topic a bit because I can't speak to Harper's War on Science. Nonetheless, various groups/individuals are always accused of conducting a war on science that is a) largely ineffectual or b) not true. Subjects that are politicized tend to take on a level of black hole density from which no light is emitted. But since we're on the topic, pseudo-science is much of the meat-and-potatoes of Art Bell's programs, past, present and future. You must know that you are on a site where the preponderance of the participants have an interest in these subjects, yes? I realize that Art also featured astronomers, such as Michio Kaku, but Kaku simply can't compete with the likes of Ghost to Ghost, Madman Markham or Malachi Martin, et al. I don't happen to think it is because people are gullible and credulous, but rather, that people are attracted by a good story (or a good story-teller) - which may be true on other levels, like all good fiction. BTW, I'm a Leo with a Cancer rising (yes, that's a joke, all you serious, literal folk). 

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #25 on: June 10, 2015, 03:35:56 AM »
Yes, I wished to broaden the topic a bit because I can't speak to Harper's War on Science. Nonetheless, various groups/individuals are always accused of conducting a war on science that is a) largely ineffectual or b) not true. Subjects that are politicized tend to take on a level of black hole density from which no light is emitted. But since we're on the topic, pseudo-science is much of the meat-and-potatoes of Art Bell's programs, past, present and future. You must know that you are on a site where the preponderance of the participants have an interest in these subjects, yes? I realize that Art also featured astronomers, such as Michio Kaku, but Kaku simply can't compete with the likes of Ghost to Ghost, Madman Markham or Malachi Martin, et al. I don't happen to think it is because people are gullible and credulous, but rather, that people are attracted by a good story (or a good story-teller) - which may be true on other levels, like all good fiction. BTW, I'm a Leo with a Cancer rising (yes, that's a joke, all you serious, literal folk).

Really? Text books + Texas.

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #26 on: June 10, 2015, 12:49:35 PM »
Really? Text books + Texas.

Yes, even textbooks + Texas. Apparently, there was some conservative Christian company, headed by some people named Gamble (?), who had undue influence over the textbook selection in Texas. Of course, once Texas Monthly and the Austin Chronicle ran articles on the way in which this was handled, the process was aired out, with the creation of all due outrage (a large part of the fun, after all), and it came to an inglorious end.

That isn't to say that various constituencies do not want to seize upon textbook selection for their pet agendas in all states. Of course they do, whether it is stories about Ron and Steve and their new friend in the neighborhood, Caitlynn, or creationism or _________(fill in your own pet issue that would surely benefit all of our children). I know that various Christian constituencies have wanted to give creationism equal time with evolution in biology classes and/or re-institute school prayer or cancel sex education, but that has happened all over the country, and has not produced the expected pay-off.

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #27 on: June 10, 2015, 01:00:58 PM »
Yes, even textbooks + Texas. Apparently, there was some conservative Christian company, headed by some people named Gamble (?), who had undue influence over the textbook selection in Texas. Of course, once Texas Monthly and the Austin Chronicle ran articles on the way in which this was handled, the process was aired out, with the creation of all due outrage (a large part of the fun, after all), and it came to an inglorious end.

That isn't to say that various constituencies do not want to seize upon textbook selection for their pet agendas in all states. Of course they do, whether it is stories about Ron and Steve and their new friend in the neighborhood, Caitlynn, or creationism or _________(fill in your own pet issue that would surely benefit all of our children). I know that various Christian constituencies have wanted to give creationism equal time with evolution in biology classes and/or re-institute school prayer or cancel sex education, but that has happened all over the country, and has not produced the expected pay-off.

The fact that it happened makes it true. The fact that pseudo-science was and is being taught does make it effectual. And I get the distinct impression that you are minimizing, perhaps I am wrong.

I don't follow this topic with any amount of consistency, but I do know that the money spent on text books in Texas has a dramatic effect on the publishing of text books in other states due primarily to the number and monies that are spent in Texas. 

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #28 on: June 10, 2015, 03:16:06 PM »

   Handsome Dick Manitoba weighs in.

   

Re: Science under siege
« Reply #29 on: June 10, 2015, 05:02:15 PM »
The fact that it happened makes it true. The fact that pseudo-science was and is being taught does make it effectual. And I get the distinct impression that you are minimizing, perhaps I am wrong.

I don't follow this topic with any amount of consistency, but I do know that the money spent on text books in Texas has a dramatic effect on the publishing of text books in other states due primarily to the number and monies that are spent in Texas.
Other states could self-publish or buy other textbooks but the big states, like Texas, bring the price down. I'm surprised, in this day and age, that more schools having gone to something like an e-reader (or tablet) one would think it would be much easier to make their own text 'book' or use original source documents. Of course, the big publishers and authors of textbooks wouldn't like that! How many times were you told get Dr.Phibe's 4th Edition for this class in the syllabus. Shell out a ridiculous amount for a book and it contained, pretty much, the same information as the previous editions but Dr.Phibe's, who happens to be your professor, gets some more books sales. Why haven't at least universities gone "e" for their books (maybe they have?)