Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Fascist Goes To Federal Court

So Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act went on trial this week, and a fascist who advocates that Christians should be forced to wear identifying emblems like Jews in 1930s Germany, and that people who disagree with him, Richard Warman and Warren Kinsella should be muzzled by the state was there to blog about it.

On the positive side, Section 13's days appear numbered anyway so all the jackboots the CHRC can muster probably won't save it now.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Gospel According To Saint Phil

Now when Al Gore was high priest in the reign of Harper the King, there went out a decree that all the world should be carbon taxed. And all went to be taxed, even unto the place named Durban, which being translated means "the gathering place of the anti-Semites." This was done so that it might be fulfilled which was written by the profiteer Suzuki, saying "Behold, the end of the world is nigh, give me your money." For the world liveth in fear and trembling of the gases of the greenhouse. The profiteers Gore and Suzuki predicteth famine, flood and plague, saying "Behold ye, consumers of fossil fuels and durable goods from China, thy greed shall warm the earth and scorch thy feet, and there shall be extreme weather events, earthquakes, hurricanes, warmer winters, colder winters, rain and drought Or at any rate it will liken unto something pretty bad which thou dost not wish to see, so give us your money." 

And Elizabeth also went up unto Durban, out of Saanich-Gulf Islands, which being translated means "the place of the pot-smoking gullible hippies." For she was an acolyte of the profiteer Gore and worshippeth at his every word and motion picture. And behold, when Elizabeth arriveth at the place she was sorely vexed, for there was no room for her at the negotiating table. And Elizabeth waxeth wrathful, saying "Behold, my country of Canada is awful, and my people Canadians are stupid, as I saith in election 2008."

And when the multitudes were gathered together at Durban behold the angel of Freedom of Information appeared unto them and they were sore afraid. But the angel said unto them "Be not afraid, for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy which shall be to all of you that are of sound mind and hath not been smoking weed. Unto you a zip file is given, unto you an email archive is born."

And the multitudes wondereth at the angel's saying and they cast among themselves for what manner of password might allow access to the encrypted portion of the zip file archive. But the high priests and scribes of the people were angered at the angel's saying, exclaiming "Behold, or rather behold not, for lo, there is nothing to see here, move along." And Elizabeth waxeth even more wrathful, for she worshippeth the false gods of the high priest Al Gore and their downfall woundeth her pride mightily. 

And behold when the gathering at Durban heard the words of the zip archive, despite there being nothing in it at all, they began to argue and dispute among themselves, saying "Thou reduce thine emissions and thou payest." and "No, thou payest first." And some even saith "Behold, this Gore climate change thing beith an crock of dung." And so they departed from Durban by their own routes. And Elizabeth appeared to herself in a dream, being the only place where she maketh sense to anyone any more.

And the truth became known and was released among us, and we beheld it's glory.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

12 Corgis of Christmas

Brave New Math

Some days ago, Kate at SDA linked to, a site set up to challenge the new elementary school math curriculum in western Canada. The new approach to teaching math in elementary schools does away with the standard algorithms that we all know, and presumably, love, in favour of letting students "discover strategies" for solving mathematical problems. There's a lot of good material on the WISEMath site, and I won't rehash all of the reasons why this latest experiment being perpetrated on a generation of kids is a disaster. Suffice to say that the literary equivalent would be teaching kids to read by handing them a bag of Scrabble tiles. It's like teaching them to drive by just handing them the car keys.

I read this article two days after Doggerelle and I had met with my daughter's grade 2 teacher. We were concerned that she was coming home with problems such as adding together two or three two digit numbers but seemed to have little clue about how to approach the problem. Reluctant to teach her 'our' way, we wanted to clarify what the teacher expected. Almost word for word, we were told the same thing as the new western curriculum spells out. "We don't give the children a procedure," says teacher. "We expose them to different strategies for solving the problem." She's seven years old, for crying out loud. "Expose them to different strategies"???

The good news is, this means we can teach our children to do math properly, and it will be OK, because when it comes to marking math homework, anything goes. That's fine for my kids. Both have great aptitude for math, both love numbers. Dogerelle Jr. plays a mean game of Monopoly already at age 7, happily doubling rents, making change and building movie studios (it's the Muppets edition!). Both Doggerelle and I are good with numbers and completely confident in teaching arithmetic. But what about the kids who don't have parents with the skills to teach at home? What about the kids who couldn't choose a strategy to do arithmetic if their lives depended on it? Which, in a sense, they do.

In a world where very little is analog any longer, where everything, absolutely everything is digital, everything is, by definition, represented by numbers, this bizarre and ideologically driven experiment will strip an entire generation of the foundations they need to make sense of their world. It's madness, or worse. It's almost criminally negligent.

Any readers have any horror stories? Is there any group like WISEMath for Ontario? Because we surely need one.

And finally, while we're on the topic, the great Mr. Tom Lehrer is here to remind us that educators have been messing around with this stuff for 40 years - 40 years of continual decline in numeracy.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Not forgetting E Henry Thripshaw

Apparently the practice of naming diseases after their discoverers is declining. Let's hope E Henry Thripshaw was able to finish the remake of his first disease in time...

Alzheimer, Parkinson, Hodgkin: Names of a passing era as naming diseases and conditions after doctors declines | News | National Post

Friday, November 25, 2011

Could They Be Related?

Kate asks the question "Why is there ALWAYS a big screen TV?" in reference to NDP MP Charlie Angus Youtube sob story from Attawapaskat.

And maybe, just maybe, we might finally get the answer.

Turns Out It Was A Duck All Along

Well, well... despite their win in a libel action against a former client who labelled them a puppy mill, described here, it turns out that Charlene and Nicole Labombard were puppy millers all along. Yesterday, they pled guilty to 17 charges of animal cruelty and turned over custody of the over 500 dogs seized from their puppy mill.

One of them told the Ottawa Citizen "there's nothing more to be said." We at TDPC feel that there is an awful lot that could be said to these two disgusting women, and if anyone is so minded, Paws R Us contact information is readily available via Google. Sadly it is unlikely that they will ever end up in steel cages and be hosed down once in a while - although TDPC would most definitely not breed from them.

Although I don't side with PETA and the other radical animal rights groups out there, this particular case is a gratifying victory over two despicable women who made a career and hundreds of thousands of dollars by exploiting and abusing dogs for profit.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Belated Comment on Paws R Us Kennel's Demise

I've blogged before about the puppy mill operation formerly known as Paws 'R' Us, in Shawville QC - most notably, this post was one of the highest traffic generators on this blog ever. Thankfully, this operation was recently shut down by the authorities in Quebec.
The owners of a dog-breeding kennel near Shawville say more than 400 dogs were taken away Friday after investigators showed up armed with a warrant. ANIMA-Quebec employees arrived Friday morning to inspect the kennel in Clarendon Township, about 90 minutes northwest of Ottawa, said owner Charlene Labombard. They left, but came back to the Paws “R” Us kennel around 4:30 p.m. with a warrant to seize all the dogs. - Ottawa Citizen
However, the seizure and subsequent focus on pet stores and puppy mills (each one yin to the other's yang) prompted Citzen columnist Kelly Egan to write this puff piece defending a local pet store owner who still sells puppies.

To set the record straight, I wrote to the Citizen, and my letter was considered for publication - they called me to verify details, which they don't do unless they plan to publish - but was bumped by some other local controversy. Here, though, for those who have followed the Paws R Us saga, is what I wrote:

Kelly Egan's fawning column about local pet store operator Mike Haynes needs to be challenged. 

Mr Haynes claims that he "knows exactly where his animals come from. He has long-standing relationships with his suppliers, he has visited their properties, he has inspected their kennels; he knows their vets." No pet shop operator would say otherwise. 

It may or may not be true, but if it is true it is a rare exception. The vast majority of dogs sold in pet stores in North America come from large puppy brokerage companies such as the Hunte Corporation, who in turn source their animals from anywhere they can get a good price. Hunte, based in Missouri, sells 90,000 puppies a year to pet stores across the continent. CBC's Marketplace did a show on this issue, and every single pet shop operator they spoke to made the same claims as Mr. Haynes, while at the same time shipping Hunte puppies on to the unsuspecting consumer. 

I would also respectfully suggest that if Mr. Haynes' businesses can't turn a profit from the food, accessories, grooming products, books and multitude of other pet products that make up a multi-billion industry, without the need to sell dogs, he should perhaps look for a different line of work.

Kelly Egan is right about one thing though - pet shops are only part of the problem. People who go to collect a dog from a breeder and find that they are "shocked by the conditions," and "There were filthy cages all over the kitchen floor - even one on the stove - and the operator herself was a mess." and still buy the dog... those are the problem. 

What you should have done, Mr. Egan, is walked away, made a call to the Humane Society, and kept your money in your wallet. You didn't "rescue" a dog - you enabled an unscrupulous and inhumane breeder to keep on trucking.

An educated and responsible consumer is in the end the only answer to the problem of puppy milling. Egan's misleading column certainly does not serve that end.

The Sow In The Wheelbarrow

Watching this video:

(h/t Kate @ SDA) I am reminded of an old story about a farmer and his prize sow. 

Farmer Brown was a rather poor man, and although he had a marvellous prize sow, he had no boar. Fortunately, his neighbour Farmer Jones was a very rich man, who had the best boar in the area. So Farmer Brown called his neighbour and asked him if he might borrow the services of the boar. 

Farmer Jones was happy to help. "Certainly," he said. "Just put her in the wheelbarrow, bring on up to the farm tomorrow and she can go in with the boar." So Farmer Brown dutifully pushed his sow in the wheelbarrow all the way up the steep hill to Farmer Jones. In due course, the boar performed his duties and Farmer Brown started back home with his sow. "How will I know if it worked?" he asked. "Easy," said Farmer Jones. "You'll see her lying on her back in the morning." 

So Farmer Brown awoke early the next day, but the sow wasn't on her back. She was snuffling happily as usual. So Farmer Brown loaded her back up into the wheelbarrow, pushed her back up the hill, and put her in with the boar again. And once again he wheeled her down the hill and waited to see what would happen.

The next morning, the sow was still snuffling around in her sty. So Farmer Brown, although getting tired, pushed her once more up to his neighbour's farm and put her in with the boar. And once again, he hauled her down to his own farm.

The next morning, Farmer Brown couldn't bear to look out of the window himself, so he asked his wife. "Is the sow up and about and rooting for food?" Mrs. Brown looked out of the farmhouse window. "No," she said. Farmer Brown perked up. "Is she lying on her back?" he asked. "No," said his wife, "She's lying in the wheelbarrow."

For too long, the hard working taxpayers of the west have been pushing the wheelbarrow up the hill, in the hope that somehow or other the sows of the welfare state might be turned into productive members of the farm community. But far from that, the sows haven't learned to be productive. They've learned the wheelbarrow is a comfortable place to be, where someone else will carry them up the hill and they can still enjoy their rewards at the top. The farmers are tired, they can't push any longer, and the sows don't like it. This seems to me to be where we are, in a nutshell. Not to mention the obvious analogy between the Occupiers and the pig pen dwellers.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Sharp eyed readers may have noticed the resemblance between NDP MP Pat Martin, who is a champion of civility in the House of Commons, and an ignorant blowhard with severe anger management issues, who went on an expletive laced rampage on Twitter last night. Could they by any chance be related?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Year Is A Long Time in Doggerel Politics

Well, it's been nearly a year of inactivity here on the blog, but what a year it's been in real life. Without going into too many gory personal details, 2011 has been a year of upheaval, transformation, regrouping and new beginnings for everyone in the Doggerel Party. It was not my own finest hour, to put it mildly.

Doggerelle is no longer a member of the party; the division was traumatic but is now very amicable. The next generation of Doggerels continues to spend time in both camps and I think it's all now being handled as well as it ever can.

The really sad news is that the corgis are gone - neither of us is living in dog friendly accommodation and so Sam, Lucy and Amie had to find new homes last December. I don't know where they went exactly, but it was handled by their original breeders each of whom I would trust with my own life, so I know they will be happy and thriving wherever they are.

The year has changed me and it has changed some of my views on some issues - notably the justice system. In other areas I remain, as it says on my Twitter profile, a touch to the right of Attila the Hun. I haven't abandoned the blogosphere and now I'm planning to be posting again from time to time when I have something useful to say.

Can we be the Doggerel Party without corgis? It's hard to know. I think the dogs would want us to keep going, and I do plan on there being more corgis in my future, so for now we'll keep the name and the URL and see how it goes.