All right, folks, pay attention because we have a job to do and it's a simple one: get Janet Halliwell removed from her position as executive vice-president of SSHRC. A bit drastic, you say? Shut up. No, wait, let me explain.
To recap, Halliwell is, of course, the loon who, over here, made some abominably stupid statements regarding the evidence for biological evolution (emphasis added):
Janet Halliwell, the SSHRC's executive vice-president and a chemist by training, acknowledged that the "framing" of the committee's comments to Alters left the letter "open to misinterpretation."
Halliwell said confidentiality obligations made it difficult for her to discuss Alters's case in detail, but she argued that the professor had taken one line in the letter "out of context" and the rejection of his application should not indicate that SSHRC was expressing "doubts about the theory of evolution."
However, Halliwell added there are phenomena that "may not be easily explained by current theories of evolution" and that the scientific world's understanding of life "is not static. There's an evolution in the theory of evolution."
So, on the one hand, Halliwell is clearly suggesting that perhaps people are over-reacting and that maybe things are being taken out of context. OK, fair enough. But, really, how else do you interpret the emphasized parts above other than expressing a definite skepticism of the basic fact of evolution? In what context do those statements make any sense whatsoever? And what to do about them? I'm glad you asked.
We need to get her fired.
To be fair, we should follow this story closely and wait for all of the evidence to come in but, barring any sudden revelations of misinterpretation, it's clear that Halliwell is emphatically unqualified for the position she currently holds and should either resign or be fired. And what does the left-wing Canadian blogosphere have to do with this? Again, good question.
It just so happens I was pondering writing a piece asking whether the liberal (small "l" there) blogosphere in Canada could claim any actual "victories." As a basis for comparison, look south to see what happens when someone really pisses off the lefties down there. It can be thoroughly unpleasant.
Remember man-whore Jeff Gannon? Life for him went pretty much to shit once John at AmericaBlog got ahold of him. With the support of other big-time leftie blogs, it was only a matter of time before Gannon was driven from the White House Press Corps. Leftie bloggers: 1; Republican man whores: 0. And it doesn't end there.
Remember 24-year-old George Deutsch, Republican hack and NASA press officer? Once his idiocy became public, his career was effectively over, and it didn't take long, did it? Once he was in the cross-hairs, it was just a matter of time.
And who can forget serial liar and plagiarist Ben Domenech, whose career as a right-wing blogger at the Washington Post was measured in mere days before he was torn limb from limb and driven into the night in total disgrace? Oh, yes, the left-wing blogworld down south has definitely learned how to play dirty, and they get results. And up here?
Well, what exactly can liberal Canadian bloggers point to as victories they've accomplished, differences they've made, thoroughly evil people they've crushed? Not a whole lot, as far as I can tell. Why not? These days, Progressive Bloggers of Canada boasts well over 200 members, whose collective effect on the Canadian political landscape seems to be virtually nil. (And, let me clear, I'm not presenting myself as being any better but, given that there so many of them, one would like to think that that much manpower in one place should have some serious political clout.)
So we look around and, as a community, we seem to have accomplished next to nothing. We bitch, and we whine, and we dig up juicy little tidbits about right-wing nutbars up here, and we publish them and, in the end, most of those stories sink without a trace as if they never existed.
Maybe this Halliwell story is the one where we, as a community, take a stand and say we're simply not going to accept someone this criminally imcompetent in charge of a publicly-funded government agency. Maybe, just this once, we don't all just publish snarky pieces about it, make fun of her stupidity, pat ourselves on the backs and then move on. Maybe, just this once, it's time to say that someone's head should roll, and we know exactly whose head that is.
Or we can just go back linking to pieces in the MSM, adding a bit of amusing snark and moving on to the next topic, satisfied in the knowledge that we have accomplished precisely squat.
Time to make some tough decisions, I think.
WHO ARE THE BIG DOGS? Perhaps I should have addressed this point earlier. I think part of the growing success of the left-wing blogosphere in the U.S. is that there are a number of extremely high-profile, well-trafficked members of that community who are getting more and more publicity each week.
Consider Markos of DailyKos, John Aravosis of AmericaBlog, Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake, Josh Marshall of TPM and so on. These people pull in loads of hits every day, and they're now being invited to be on radio, TV and so on. You clearly don't need a lot of blogs when you have a few with this kind of clout.
So the obvious question is -- does the left-wing blogosphere in Canada have anyone of that stature? And by "stature," I mean people who, when they get pissed, can actually get results. To the best of my knowledge, we have no one, but I'm willing to be educated on the topic.