People's Glorious Redistribution of Web Pages
May 13, 2004 8:41 AM   Subscribe

Let us say you are the premier of Alberta. Let's say you made some ill advised statements suggesting that public car insurance is the kind of socialist claptrap the forced Pinochet to stage a coup in Chile. Let us further posit that you were pursuing a degree at the time and had recently turned in a paper (word .doc) on that very topic, and presented it in the provincial legislature to back up those statements. Would you not then want to be pretty sure you hadn't plagiarized large chunks of your essay from the web?
posted by Capn (43 comments total)
 
Your last link doesn't work.
posted by dobbs at 8:52 AM on May 13, 2004


AlbertaFilter.

But seriously, what's the most striking to me about this story is the notion of someone at that level of government pursuing a degree. It seems so incongruous...

On preview, the last link worked for me.
posted by ulotrichous at 8:57 AM on May 13, 2004


Does too!
posted by crazy finger at 8:57 AM on May 13, 2004


wtf? sorry, works for me now. i tried three times before posting. weird.
posted by dobbs at 9:04 AM on May 13, 2004


I'm amazed that Klein is still around after that incident where he showed up stinking drunk at a homeless shelter and proceeded to insult the people who were there.

It just goes to show that you can't spell "class" without "ass"...
posted by clevershark at 9:05 AM on May 13, 2004


What's scary is that a Premier only gets a 77 in a comunications course.
posted by dobbs at 9:10 AM on May 13, 2004


We're functioning in a...situation, in the information age, where people are running around with digital cameras flatbed scanners and taking these unbelievable photographs PDFs and then passing them off, against the law, to the media, to our surprise, when they had not even arrived in the Pentagon Calgary.
posted by Smart Dalek at 9:12 AM on May 13, 2004


Way to give me a heart attack on my first serious, link-heavy, post dobbs.

It just stuns me that someone could reach that level of political influence and yet be that... what? bumbling? naive? unsavy?
posted by Capn at 9:15 AM on May 13, 2004


finally a politician that can make us americans proud!
posted by muppetboy at 9:19 AM on May 13, 2004


Must admit, I detest Klein so much (he's the Albertan version of Mike Harris) that this post had me laughing my way through all the links. Yet, at the same time, I wasn't in the least surprised.
posted by orange swan at 9:31 AM on May 13, 2004


What a terrible essay. It's not a big surprise to me that Klien can't write for shit, but he should have enough self-awareness not to go parrotting his paper in the Legislature. What kind of professor gives this a decent grade? (Answer: one who's teaching the premier.)
posted by Dasein at 9:33 AM on May 13, 2004


He needs to work on some other aspects of his game too. Like making fake bets with the terminator.
posted by loquax at 9:35 AM on May 13, 2004


Damn, I loves me that Canadian humor!
posted by mwhybark at 9:38 AM on May 13, 2004


(he's the Albertan version of Mike Harris)
Have ye ever noticed that North Edinburgh golfers putt like this, and South Edinburgh golfers putt like this?

And it's humour mwhybark.
posted by Capn at 9:44 AM on May 13, 2004


Don't even think of sending him south. We have more than our fair share of idiots already.
posted by trondant at 9:52 AM on May 13, 2004


Jaroma Iginla for premier!
posted by DrJohnEvans at 9:55 AM on May 13, 2004


meanwhile, in the real world...
posted by andrew cooke at 10:13 AM on May 13, 2004


Ah, Ralphy, we love ya, don't ever change.

What a jackass. Unfortunately, he'll be Premier until he gets tired of it. Oh well, isn't Stampede coming up soon? Must be time for another pie in the face...
posted by alex_reno at 10:14 AM on May 13, 2004


Oh my fucking god. What a bloody idiot. For starters, that's some terrible work - and it's only four pages long. Real hard work there, Ralphie. There are typos, formatting errors, huge quotes without analysis... The best line is probably this: "Another barier to Chilean democracy lies in the concentration of the mass media in the government hands." I also love his naming of the current president: "President Ricardo LAGOS Escobar." Use the CIA World Factbook much?

The crowning touch - in his "vignette", he says that he was "young" so his memory of the coup is "vague". Ladies and gentlemen, Klein was born in 1942. He was thirty-fucking-one years old at the time of the coup. Bravo, Ralphie. You've proven yourself even more moronic than ever before, something I thought could not be done.
posted by livii at 10:25 AM on May 13, 2004


Mr Klein admitted to drinking the equivalent of a bottle of wine a day...

He may be a fascist, a pervert, a fake or a lizard alien from Betelgeuse, but he has some way to go to win the political boozing stakes.

Could he, perchance, be suffering from some sort of Munchhausen's Syndrome, whereby the sufferer needs to tell [not so] tall tales in order to stay in the public eye?

Just askin'.
posted by dash_slot- at 10:36 AM on May 13, 2004


While his Pinochet comments were certainly ill-advised, they come far short of other silly analogies or comparisons drawn in some quarters between a certain US president and a certain former German leader of some ill repute. Just goes to show, analogies are a bad way of making a point. Even this one!

And by the way, being a premier is a full time job, he should be applauded for trying to better himself by going to night school.

Just kidding about that last bit, it was a crappy paper
posted by loquax at 10:38 AM on May 13, 2004


Capn It just stuns me that someone could reach that level of political influence and yet be that... what? bumbling? naive? unsavy?

My first thought was he had some junior speech writer write the paper. Which still makes him a cheater but at least he wouldn't be stupid to boot. Ralph is many things but I never got a "dumb as a bag of hammerheads" vibe from him.
posted by Mitheral at 10:43 AM on May 13, 2004


When properly employed, arrogance can be a perfect substitute for a sub-normal I.Q.
posted by orange swan at 11:02 AM on May 13, 2004


He's just like Adam Yoshida--only grown-up!
posted by octobersurprise at 11:03 AM on May 13, 2004


BC's Minister of Education takes the odd course at the university I attend (I am friends with her daughter) and I have no problem with elected officials, even premiers, pursuing advanced educations. I think our elected officials should have some kind of higher-level education, and at least Ralph Klein is doing something about it.

However, I would like to think that these elected officials could attain a higher mark than 77% in a Communications class. Of course, I'd also think that they'd be able to write a paper without plagiarizing it.

Furthermore, as somebody who marks first year University papers, I think the professor was exceedingly generous by giving this a 77 (which is a B+ at my university). I would have given it a much lower mark just for the citations that are simply "(Internet)", not to mention the sorry state of the bibliography. And that isn't even getting into the actual writing.
posted by synecdoche at 11:17 AM on May 13, 2004


Only thing I see here is one who has no pride in his own work. A man in his position would have no trouble finding a tutor if he wanted his work to be prided. Bet he more than plagiarized, he had someone else do his work then he re-wrote it.

"Although I cannot remember specifically what was happening in the newsroom at CFCN radio and television, it was no doubt a typical day, the morning radio news reader, Ross Author, was finishing his shift after reading the morning news starting at 5:00 a.m., which included the major wheat pool newscast at 8:00 a.m. followed by the major noon report."

The above sentence's time line proceeds forward then stutters back, imho. Like he is rephrasing the sentence he is reading. Why it may be a large run-on sentence, aye.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:36 AM on May 13, 2004


Like he is rephrasing the sentence(s) or paragraph he is reading.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:05 PM on May 13, 2004


It just slays me that a professor at an accredited university would accept "Internet" as a citation. Where he cited a book, would the prof have accepted an attribution of "Book"?
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:41 PM on May 13, 2004


It may be worth noting here that the institution to which the Honourable Premier submitted this fine piece of work is essentially (or so it would seem from their website) a correspondence college.
posted by Johnny Assay at 12:42 PM on May 13, 2004


Johnny Assay: In my browser it says they provide distance learning. Are you suggesting that this isn't a valid form of educational delivery? Does an education only count if you get it sitting in a lecture theatre between the ages of 18 and 21? Or did your sneer just get ahead of actually thinking about the topic? Yes, this work is obvious crap but that doesn't mean that the mode of delivery is flawed.
posted by biffa at 1:24 PM on May 13, 2004


Just for those of you not up on your Canadian provinces -

Alberta : Canada :: Texas : USA

Or would Kentucky be more accurate? Whatever the case, it's the province where the idiots congregate. The progressive news you hear coming out of Canada (pot decrim., gay marriage, etc.) largely comes out of Ontario and British-Columbia.
posted by Ryvar at 3:57 PM on May 13, 2004


Top Officials Hold Fake Degrees

Alberta : Canada :: Texas : USA
Hey Texas is a populated states than the bill you offer. Maybe Missouri or Arkansas as they are more rural and barren. Rarely see a person riding a horse too. Plus we have population from all around the world. My neighbors here are more diverse than my neighbors in Ca. fyi.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:42 PM on May 13, 2004


it's the province where the idiots congregate.

Right, the idiots are here. 2 million people, mostly idiots. That's why people from all over the country come here - oh, my mistake, they do that because there are jobs here. Those people must be idiots too. But how do we idiots maintain a robust economy? Must be dumb luck.
posted by alex_reno at 4:47 PM on May 13, 2004


I thought Ralph Klein dropped out in grade ten. When did he finally get his GED, let alone start taking a degree?

And Alberta's a nice place, though I'm an Ontarian through and through.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 5:53 PM on May 13, 2004


Can't we all just agree that rural places are where the idiots congregate? Alberta just happens to have more of those places. Hence Ralph Klein, anti-gay bigotry, selfishness vis-a-vis income redistribution, etc. Go to rural Ontario, and you'll find worse... and the landscape will be ugly, to boot.

;-)
posted by stonerose at 6:13 PM on May 13, 2004


" Can't we all just agree that rural places are where the idiots congregate?"

No, said the guy with a degree in philosophy from the University of Chicago, who lives in a rural town of 2,000, and who's writen one book on people doing stupid things (with another on the way). I can tell you pretty much for a fact that stupidity is evenly distributed.

Will I be using Ralph Klein in the stupidity book I'm writing now? Oh, my. Yes.
posted by jscalzi at 7:43 PM on May 13, 2004


But how do we idiots maintain a robust economy? Must be dumb luck.

Uhhh... maybe it has something to do with all that OIL under the ground. Dumb luck? Maybe not... Oil, yes.

In any case.. wouldn't really single out "Albertans" as the problem... "Politicians" is a more accurate assessment of the problem.
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 8:57 PM on May 13, 2004


Hey, the oil helps, I agree. Still, Alberta is very business-friendly, compared to the rest of Canada.

What can I say, I like it when the economy's good. And Ralphie, for all his many faults, at least hasn't screwed that up. However, I am less than completely sanguine about his desire to privatize health care.
posted by alex_reno at 11:34 PM on May 13, 2004


The crowning touch - in his "vignette", he says that he was "young" so his memory of the coup is "vague"

See, that's a typo. It's supposed to read that he was "drunk" so his memory was "vague."

it's the province where the idiots congregate.

Can't we all just agree that rural places are where the idiots congregate? Alberta just happens to have more of those places.

*ahem* I'd argue that statements like that say more about your own prejudices than the people you're stereotyping. Yeah, rural Alberta is full of folks who like their politics conservative. I should know, I grew up there. And there's a hell of a lot of stuff I'd disagree with those people on, politically. But to resort to that sort of name-calling just because you don't like the politics of someone (or three million someones) you haven't met? That's idiotic.

Having said that, I'd dearly like to see ol' Ralphie out of a job come next election. The man's level of arrogance (which I'll admit is in part due to the freakish form of political monoculture here) is out of control.
posted by arto at 11:46 PM on May 13, 2004


<derail>

In my browser it says they provide distance learning. Are you suggesting that this isn't a valid form of educational delivery? Does an education only count if you get it sitting in a lecture theatre between the ages of 18 and 21? Or did your sneer just get ahead of actually thinking about the topic?


Um, with all due respect, the fact that this paper earned a grade of 77% (which given that 50% is a passing grade at Athabasca U., would be a B+) at such an institution doesn't really bolster your case that "distance education is as good as brick-and-mortar institutions". If being suspicious of an institution or program with such low standards makes me some kind of effete intellectual snob, then so be it. Further, speaking from my personal experience, actually being able to discuss the material face-to-face with fellow students and professors was a far more effective way of learning than merely sitting down & grinding through a textbook. Maybe I misunderstand the concept of "distance learning", but isn't this person-to-person interaction exactly what's missing at such institutions?

That said, I have no direct experience with distance learning, so I welcome any refutation you might make to the above assertions. I'll concede that: a) it's likely there are distance learning institutions out there that have higher standards than the illustrious Athabasca University, b) there are certainly brick-and-mortar institutions out there with standards this lax, and c) although the specific institution makes a difference, the quality of education received generally depends more on the student than where it was received.
</derail>
posted by Johnny Assay at 2:21 PM on May 14, 2004


Johnny, I've done some work for Athabasca University's Centre for Innovative Management. Their online MBA is apparently fairly well-respected. This is not a fly-by-night outfit. They are accredited.

While your a) is probably true, your b) and c) certainly are.
posted by alex_reno at 3:26 PM on May 14, 2004


Dammit, alex, why'd you have to go and introduce first-hand knowledge into the debate?

I humbly retract my previous statements (or at least tone them down significantly.)
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:14 PM on May 14, 2004


I'm quite happy to throw in some more first hand knowledge of distance learning. The UK's Open University has an excellent record a distance learning institution, is fully accredited as a university and a granter of degrees on a par with any other university in the UK. (And I think my first comment noted that the example of the Albertan Premier's mark doesn't automatically discredit the mode of education.)
posted by biffa at 5:07 PM on May 15, 2004


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