Canada: A Corrupt Petrostate

The 2009 Munk Debate will be held tomorrow night. The Globe and Mail is having some kind of pre-debate show live streaming "chatty" type-a-thingy on it's website where you can send in questions. And you can sign up to watch the debate free on the web at the Munk Debate website.

This year's debate will see climate liars... er... "sceptics" Bjorn Lomborg and Nigel Lawson face Guardian science columnist, George Monbiot and Green Party leader, Elizabeth May.

Should be interesting.

I don't know much about Lawson, but Lomborg is one of these soft-in-the-middle climate deniers. He's not like, say, Christopher Monckton who scoffs at the idea that people are warming the planet. Lomborg accepts the scientific consensus on this (up to a point), he just figures that based on his cost/benefit analysis, we would do better to invest in things like ending poverty instead of making massive investments in reducing carbon emissions.

Oh, and he also thinks that we should stay away from international treaties because we've been trying that route for 20 years and look where it's gotten us.

Gee, Bjorn, the lack of action on climate change couldn't have anything to do with chaps like yourself sowing discord and discouraging action on the subject, could it? You're not really being on the up and up when you say a particular solution won't work if you're the guy fucking with it?

As for the "feeding the poor instead of fixing climate change" thing.... it's a false dichotomy. We're not making such massive investments in solving the climate change problem that it's taking aid away from developing nations. In fact, all this line of reasoning he's been trotting out for the past decade has accomplished is to give developed nations (like ours) a good, compassionate-sounding rationale to not invest in reducing carbon emissions. Of course, we don't ever seem to make any corresponding investments in helping the developing world, either.

Still, Lomborg's style of scepticism is a tough one to debate as he'll be doing an end run around the moral highground. (I can almost hear him trilling, "All you care about is carbon. I care about people.") Plus, I think Lomborg's one of these guys who got into the denial game out of a desire to be thought clever and be loved. In a debate I could see him moderating his position just to stay on the audience's good side and to diffuse Monbiot and May's position.

Which brings me to Monbiot... Love his column. Can't say much more except that he has some choice things to say about Canada -- that, as the title of this post suggests, we're turning into a corrupt petrostate. And, I hasten to add, I agree with him.

And May... well... she sure would make a fine PM.

Christmas Boogaloo

Not sure if Shane is planning a rundown of his favourite Christmas-themed movies like he did with his month-long Hallowe'en extravaganza, but with December looming I thought I'd get our coverage of the holiday season off to a start with this post. (Break)

Oh. Yeah. That.

Something tells me the Saskatchewan Roughriders are going to come up with a new marketing slogan (Sportsnet) next season. You think? (Vancouver Sun)

Six in the Morning

1. HOUSING HELP HARDLY HELPING: More than a year after the Harper government announced $1.9 billion in social housing support, less than one per cent of the money has been spent. (Globe and Mail)

2. BATTLE IN SEATTLE 10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY: You know, back in 1999 when all those dumb kids took to the streets in Seattle complaining about how the globalized economy was all "oppressive" and "unsustainable", the media called them idiot idealists. I don't know. Here we are a decade later and I'm thinking they've been pretty well vindicated. (rabble.ca)

3. FOOD BANK USE WAY UP: 790,000 Canadians had to use a foodbank in March of this year alone. That's an 18 per cent increase over last year. (rabble.ca)

4. WAS THAT REALLY SO BAD? Experts are saying the second wave of the H1N1 flu may have peaked. So much for the first pandemic of the 21st century. No zombies. Zzzzzzz. The real tragedy is, someone mentioned that when you glance at H1N1 it kinda looks like HiNi (pronounced Hi-nee) and now the bug has started to disappear and I never had much of a chance to spread that meme around. Hini flu. Hi-neeeeeeeee flu.(Leader Post)

5. THIS IS WHAT THEY'RE CALLING A RECOVERY? They're saying the recession's over because the Canadian economy grew last quarter for the first time in a year. But by how much, you ask? A whopping 0.4 per cent. (Globe and Mail)

6. LET'S JUST PRETEND THAT GAME NEVER HAPPENED: No, seriously. I won't bring it up if you don't. (Leader Post)

Pick of the Day: ZZ Top

Better late than never, I guess. ZZ Top, as most of you doubtlessly recall, was supposed to semi-co-headline a show at Mosaic Stadium with Aerosmith on Aug. 9. Then in early August at a gig in South Dakota, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler fell off the stage and broke his shoulder. That led to the concert being cancelled, and ultimately, the break-up of Aerosmith. Guitarist Joe Perry now has his own band, by the way, which hits Regina Jan. 28 in support of Motley Crue at the Brandt Centre.

Tonight, though, ZZ Top is rocking the Conexus Arts Centre. In the press material I accessed, there's no mention of a back-up band. Mind you, with nearly 40 years in the biz, the Texas-based blues-rock trio don't exactly lack for tunes to do a full-length concert of their own. To get you in the mood to boogie, here's video off ZZ Top's recent concert DVD for "Sharp Dressed Man". (YouTube)