Halifax Regional Municipality has retreated, tail between legs, from its unconstitutional war on music festival posters. The lawyer who faced them down wants to make sure the tail stays put. just as the issue was going to trial, municipal prosecutors dropped charges against Evolve Festival organizer Jonas Colter, whom HRM police had  pursued with unseemly vigor for advertising the alternative music event on sidewalk utility poles. That's a relief for Colter, who was facing $4500 in fines, but a disappointment for lawyer Gordon Allen, who believed his bro bono had a strong case on free speech grounds. Allen hoped a court judgment would deter...

New Waterford filmmaker Ashley McKenzie (erroneously identified by the CBC as a Halifax filmmaker) looking pensive Wednesday night at a taping of CBC-TV's Short Film Faceoff with host Steve Patterson (center). The show's semi-final episode pitted McKenzie's award-winning Rhonda's Party against two other good shorts, Down to the Wood by Newfoundlander Kelly Davis, and In Between by Montrealer-turned-Torontonian Nadine Valcin. The episode taped last night will air June 25, after which Internet voting will determine an over-all winner of $50,000 in cash and equipment rentals toward their next production....

In the media landscape, there are climate change believers and climate change deniers, but rarely actual climate scientists. And never climate scientists this cool. [Not suitable for all workplaces.] Those with Flash-impaired devices, click here. H/T: Daily Dish...

In a local triumph for social media, Donnie Calabrese got his computer back today, 145 days after it was scooped up in a CBRM Police investigation of someone else, and one day after Donnie wrote a Facebook post about his frustrated attempts to reclaim it. From Donnie's Facebook wall today: Dear Friends, Got a call from the police at 11am. Got my computer back at 12. This has been one of the greatest most uplifting experiences of my life. I have infinite confidence in the competence and fortitude of all of my friends. I thank everyone who shared this, got angry,...

Los Angeles filmmaker and photographer Ransom Riggs made this short film about his favorite post-apocalyptic landscape, the Salton Sea. It's quite a story. H/T: Silas...

In our ongoing tussle over the nature of vote-splitting and whether it can be said to account for the Harper majority (earlier installment here and on Twitter), Alice Funke of Pundits' Guide has kindly supplied the requested table of ridings where incumbent Liberals lost to the Conservative Party of Canada, and where the margin of victory was smaller than the increase in the NDP vote. Margins-2 [Contrarian reader Joey Schwartz noticed an error in the first version of this chart, which Funke has NOW corrected. My thanks to both.] In all, 15 seats meet my criteria, enough (if one accepts some assumptions Funke rejects) to reduce the Harper seat tally to a 151-seat minority. Alice and I differ as to whether this is a valid rough-and-ready measure of seats where vote-splitting by progressives cost Liberal seats. She points out that in one of these seats, Yukon, the Greens placed third, and their vote rose more than the NDP. In nine six others, the CPC vote rose more than the NDP. The Liberals had already lost one seat, Vaughan, in a byelection, and voter turnout increased across the board. I acknowledge the likelihood that a lot of Liberals and 2008 non-voters swung to the CPC in 2011; my argument is that enough Liberals swung to the NDP in these ridings to facilitate a Harper majority. As with all counterfactual arguments, it's a matter for debate. Funke  responds (after the jump):

Five months ago, Cape Breton Regional Police seized a computer belonging to Donnie Calabrese, a young self-employed musician, writer, events coordinator, and community volunteer. Here's his account of what followed, posted today on his Facebook page: On December 22, 2010 the police nabbed my computer. They were executing a search warrant on a case unrelated to me, in fact unrelated to anyone in my dwelling, and had to take all of our computers. Drag. The fellows who came to the house were regretful. My plight did not fall on deaf ears. "Yeah, this happens, we need to take all the...

Last Thursday, Contrarian got into a bit of a Twitter dustup with Alice Funke, whose blog, Pundits' Guide, features statistical analysis of Canadian election results. In a post titled, "Mommy, They Split My Vote," Funke purported to show that few if any of the 27 Liberal seats lost to Stephen Harper's Conservatives in the May 2 election had been lost due to vote-splitting. Her complicated argument defies succinct exegesis, but you can read it here. In response, I tweeted: This unleashed a torrent of counter-tweets that, for the time being at least, you can find here and here (by scrolling back to May 12). Funke followed...

Thursday's "morning brief" from iPolitics.ca led with a puff piece about a Prime Minister Harper's visit to flooded areas of Manitoba. I'm sure there were stupider things written in Canadian journalism this week, I just cant think of any offhand: Mr. Sunshine brings better weather to soggy Prairies Just call him Mr. Sunshine. Stephen Harper came, saw and left behind some improving weather for the drenched people of Manitoba. The prime minister toured flooded areas to the west of Winnipeg yesterday, promising federal help to build better infrastructure for future floods. And while his trip was short on...