Terahertz Atheist Video Blog

I always have a number of long-term projects in my head. Reaching out via different mediums is one of them, and practice speaking and editing is always important for me.


To accomplish this I’ve started an intermittent video blog/podcast supplement to this blog. Only two episodes are up so far – the first on Fusion: Hot and Cold and the second on GMO Labelling – and it’s only available through YouTube for now (I may look into the technical aspects of how to iTunes it next week). You can subscribe to the RSS feed here or follow the YouTube playlist here.

My goal is to produce quality, short, informative and interesting videos. It will take a few before I hit my stride and I don’t promise a consistent release schedule (which means it may drop off the radar for a while).

Here’s the first two episodes:

Episode 1: Fusion Hot and Cold

Episode 2: GMO Labeling

Radio Freethinker on Tuesday

Just a quick post tonight.

On Tuesday afternoon, I’ll be on CITR’s Radio Freethinker show talking about all the latest news from the BC Humanists.

The show runs for a full hour, so if you have ideas for what I should talk about, drop them below (obviously soon so that I can be somewhat prepared).

The show will be available as a podcast afterwards and I’ll link to it here when it’s online.

Analysts remarks reveal underlying bias, I say

Sometimes PostMedia News goes so far as to almost parody itself. One might even think that this article from the Vancouver Sun could have been written by Fox News North Sun News.

Justin Trudeau betrays his political immaturity and narcissism in suggesting that his commitment to a united Canada is dependent on whether the Conservative government validates his personal values, say prominent political analysts.

And just who are these “prominent political analysts”?

First, we have Calgary School professor and (un)Friend of Science Barry Cooper. Ever the expert on talking about Quebec separation, in 1991 Cooper argued that Canada would be better off if Quebec separated in his book in Deconfederation: Canada without Quebec.

Second, we have Carleton philosophy professor Tom Darby. I couldn’t find much on this “prominent” analyst other than an obscure dystopian e-novel he wrote last year and another article by the journalist same person who wrote the above Sun article. In standard Conservative rhetoric, Sibley quotes Darby:

The most conservative people in this country right now are Liberals and New Democrats. Politics is all about change. Conservatives are supposed to be the ones afraid of change, but now those who fear change the most are the people who like to think of themselves as progressive.

Third, breaking the trend we have University of Ottawa political science professor Robert Asselin. His bio from an iPolitics article he wrote

Robert Asselin is the Associate Director of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. He has served as an advisor and speechwriter to the prime minister of Canada, communications director to the Leader of the Official Opposition, policy advisor to the minister of intergovernmental affairs as well as chief of staff to the associate minister of National Defence. He was a senior adviser and speechwriter for the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada for three national election campaigns.

The only other source they quote is a Conservative back bencher decrying the situation.

I wonder how many professors Sibley called before he got enough trash-talking Trudeau to fill an article or if he just has the same guys on speed dial.

Daily Split interview on assisted suicide

Last week I did an interview for the show The Daily Split. The shows plays on VisionTV and this episode played last night. My interview starts at 7:15 (which should be set in the embed below) and the host, Brian discusses assisted suicide further in his closing remarks “House of Common Sense”, which starts at 21:15.

The show’s byline is “it’s about free enterprise” and is unapologetically right-wing, so take what you want from the rest of it.

I wish I hadn’t called humanism “atheism plus” and would have expanded a bit more on how we believe in people’s ability to be good on their own, but it is what it is. Every interview could go a bit better, and this represents a bit of exposure and some practice.

Oh Georgia Straight, why do you publish such crap?

Sometimes I appreciate the local coverage that the Georgia Straight provides. They’re coverage of the Vancouver election is extensive, and they’ve provided pages for every school and parks board candidate so far to get their word out. Hell, they questioned Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts on whether she though George Bush should be arrested for torture.

But then they have a day when they put out a pair of articles like they did last Thursday.

Continue reading Oh Georgia Straight, why do you publish such crap?

Kai Nagata: Media Crusader

After that last article, I want to point out something positive* on the internet.

You remember Kai Nagata right?

He wrote what may have been the best resignation letter ever. It was essentially a manifesto for change in the Canadian media climate.

Well, lucky for us, The Tyee found him and has started letting his unfiltered words hit the internet.

And wow does he have things to say.

He’s already started a series called “Warnings from Quebec”, which begins by painting the bleak picture of media centralization that has become Quebec under Quebecor rule. Nagata notes that Quebecor has been crucial in forcing secret laws through the provinces National Assembly to support the construction of a new arena, to be owned by Quebecor, in Quebec City. He questions the new motto of Quebecor president “What’s good for Quebecor is good for all Quebeckers” and worries about the extreme agendas being pushed by Quebecor.

Part 2 introduces us to the ex-Parti Quebecois members who quit over their party’s sell out to Quebecor. He notes how the PQ’s implosion has basically cost them their next election, which is of little concern to Quebecor who may have found the ideal puppet in Francois Legault – potential leader of an uncreated, but high-polling, new right-wing party. He finishes by asking whether any large corporate media in Canada is free of bias, noting that only the independent Toronto Star and Le Devoir endorsed anyone other than the Conservatives in 2008 and 2011.

Finally, Nagata concludes with a blistering two-page analysis** of Quebecor’s new Sun News Network, which he claims has a steadily rising viewership (his source is a Sun newspaper, so I’m still a bit skeptical). He discusses the prevalence of polling data in Quebecor papers, which seem to have been used to promote the Quebec arena – asking respondents to single out who is to blame for delays. He worries about the lack of critical analysis of Quebecor (save for a few courageous columnists) and concludes by worrying about the isolating effect that such media centralization can result in.

Go read all three pieces, and feel worried. But then feel a bit better knowing that at least someone’s paying attention.

*At least it’s a good thing that’s it’s being written.

**I hate when online articles are split across pages. We have scroll bars for a reason.

Wrong, wrong, so very wrong

Apparently people respect Vito Tanzi. At least, that’s what an article in the Globe and Mail tells me, and their journalists must be impartial right?

Tanzi apparently believes that because government spending has dropped as a fraction of the GDP in Canada and Sweden over the past 20 years that it will continue to drop into the future. I guess two data points does make a linear trend. Neil Reynolds, the author of the article, compares the levels that we’re spending with those of the 1920s and the 1700 and 1800s, and seems to argue that we should go back to such spending.

That’s right.

Continue reading Wrong, wrong, so very wrong

PostMedia admits failure of privatization

Granted, this is from the editorial board of the Nanaimo Daily News, and not the Calgary Herald (or even the Vancouver Sun), but still, someone get the devil some ice skates:

While the [BC] government has provided the subsidy [overpaid BC Ferries CEO David] Hahn said that B.C. Ferries needed, the news about continued falling ridership has to be seen as a sign that this is a service badly in need of being returned to where it belongs – as a public service. [emphasis mine]

The paper has many harsh words for premier Christy Clark for failure to take real action over falling ridership and skyrocketing fares at BC Ferries. It further criticizes NDP leader Adrian Dix for not yet stating his plan to fix the agency. Hopefully, once the election is on we’ll hear it.

On the Oslo blasts

By now you’re probably aware of the explosion and subsequent shooting that happened today (yesterday there?) in Oslo, Norway. If not, go read then come back.

Going off the details that are undisputed as of now, a bomb was set off in downtown Oslo, near the government buildings and later a man dressed as a police officer opened fire on delegates of a Labour Party youth camp. (Real) Police believe the two events are linked and the death toll is still rising and is at least 10.

The New York Times had initially reported that an Islamic fundamentalist group had taken credit for the bombing, but the paper was quick to note that such claims are often false.

Any time a terrorist attack (and I define this as a terrorist attack since it was an attack that inspired terror) occurs, it’s almost instinct now to blame Muslims. Hopefully most people take a second and realize it’s not any or even a sizable number of Muslims who could commit such atrocities (can anyone picture Mayor Nenshi doing anything so atrocious?). Finally, we actually realize that in situations like this, we need to wait until some facts come out before posting our favourite violent sections of the Koran in relation to this attack.

Almost ironically, some reports are starting to come out now, and they’re worthy of the same skepticism as the initial reports, that the gunmen was a blonde Norwegian and has no links to any Islamic group. The irony comes from the fact that this man may prove to have ties to ultra-right organizations that strongly oppose the left-leaning governing Labour party and Muslim immigration.

Rather than Islamo-Fascists it may prove to be just old fashioned Western Fascists.

Of course if a xenophobic right-wing group had escaped without being caught, they could have pinned the blame on Muslims and immigrants, potentially swinging popular opinion over to some of their more extremist policies.

But now I’m into idle speculation.

I wish the best for the investigators and Norwegian people. Norway holds a soft-spot in my heart as the place Alberta (and Canada) could be if we actually worked together.

Canada Day Canada.com article

I almost completely missed a chance at some shameless self promotion. For Canada day I was asked to submit an article to a renewal of their “Real Agenda” issue that ran gathered bloggers opinions during the recent election.

I came up with a shorter piece on our country’s need for a vision to replace the cynical politics that seems to rule today.

A tease:

With our country’s 144th birthday upon us, we ought to stop, recollect, and decide our vision for this diverse land. Perhaps it is a part of our perpetual national identity crisis, but I believe that we need to rekindle the belief in a better future that drove the exploration and formation of Canada.

Visionary examples fill our history, from our transnational railway, to establishing the international peacekeeping forces of the United Nations, to Tommy Douglas’ universal health care system. Yet, the past few decades have lacked that vision, with our only goal of the 1990s being to eliminate the federal deficit.