Black Sheep Press

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Bob Rae, the next Liberal leader!

Because he was such a rousing success as the NDP leader, let's bring him in as the next Liberal leader

Well, that might at least make Harper look good...

We're number 1

Regina is the murder capital of Canada

"If you took the drugs and alcohol out of those violent situations … we would have had probably next to no homicides last year," he said. "If you took drugs and alcohol out of our crime situation this would be an entirely different community."

Yes, if you just took those out, damn those pesky drugs.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Harry Potter should watch Spider-Man 2 (Spoilers contained within)

Really Massive Spoilers, if you haven't read the book really you should probably avoid reading the post as I give away the ending.

I'm more commenting on the book then actually reviewing it as has already been done a number of times and I'm not really all that good at sumarizing and reviewing books anyways.

A number of things I expected to happen did. Dumbledore died, which I figured would be in this book as the big deaths come at the end of books (Cedric Diggory, Sirius Black) and I anticipated Dumbledore's death as it would force Harry to set out on his own (or really set out with Hermione and Ron) in order to kill Voldemort.

Harry seems to have matured a great deal since the last book where he was always flying off into tantrums which may be fairly apt depictions of adolescant behaviour, but made him highly annoying at times in the Order of the Phoenix. Ron on the other hand is much the same and I really can't see why Hermione would ever be attracted to him. Harry is still headstrong and tends to ignore the advice of others to do what he thinks right, but unlike previously where he tended to make serious erros in judgement due to personal biases, in this book his suspicions turned out to be nearly entirely correct, and it seems that Snape really was a bad guy all this time. Though I suppose there is the possibility that he was acting on Dumbledore's orders even to the point of killing him.

The Horcruz was actually fairly obvious and I figured it would be something along that line, but is still interesting. Also, as a thought, could the final horcrux be not Nagini, but Harry himself? This would explain a great deal, the bond, the scar, the fact that Voldemort doesn't want anyone else to kill Harry. It might seem crazy but what safer place to store a part of his soul then in the person who would have to kill him. This would mean that Harry would have to die in order to kill Voldemort and seeing as how Voldemort could not imagine doing so himself, he would not imagine that anyone else would either.

Also the glimpses of Tom Riddle's childhood were enlightening, in the contrasts to Harry's as much as the similarities. Despite the being ill-treated until his 11 birthday Harry is well-adjusted and not evil, while Riddle was well-treated and yet grew up isolated and obsessed with power.

Monday, July 18, 2005

It's all Harper's fault

Apparently Stephen Harper is entirely to blame for the Conservatives position in the polls.

OTTAWA (CP) - The gift of scandal and voter fatigue with the four-term Liberal government have done little for Stephen Harper's Conservatives, a new poll suggests.

A Pollara poll gives the Liberals a commanding advantage - 11 points ahead of their arch-rivals, with staggering leads in battlegrounds like B.C., the Toronto area and Atlantic Canada. Pollara's chairman says the Canadian electorate wants to punish the Liberals and there's only one explanation for such a large lead.

"The whole thing is Stephen Harper at this stage," said Michael Marzolini, who was a longtime Liberal pollster.

"Liberal support is artificially high now because of him.

"If the Conservatives didn't have this hamstring around them . . . they would be in the high 40s in the polls.

"A Brian Mulroney type of Conservative leader would have Conservatives in the 50s right now."

Instead the Official Opposition lagged behind at 27 per cent - while the Liberals were at 38 per cent, the Pollara poll suggested. The NDP was at 15 per cent.

Bullshit it is all Harper's fault, oh sure, he mightn't be the greatest leader ever, but he surely isn't the worst. There are significant factors beside the fact that Stephen Harper is the leader of the party that are holding them back in the polls, and it is easy to say if there was someone else, why, the Tories would be doing so much better, because after all, we don't have a different leader so who really knows how we would be doing if we did.

The pundits have repeatedly bashed Stephen Harper for not being charismatic enough, for seeming to angry, for not being all the things that they maligned Stockwell Day for being. No matter who we have as a leader we are not going to get positive press.

And anyways, as I've said before: There is no other obvious replacement. Sure, people say McKay, but he'll never win as leader for one simple reason, the western half of the party won't vote for him. He might have what the media thinks that the Tories need, a bit of charisma, good looks, etc, but he is one of the driving forces behind the Liberal-lite movement of the party that is doing it no favours.

Government should pay for swimming lessons

Carolyn Bennett is calling for swimming lessons to be part of school curiculum.

Swimming lessons should become part of every child's education, says the federal minister of state responsible for public health.

Carolyn Bennett is calling for swim lessons to be part of the school curriculum and for the federal government to help fund the initiative.

"In this country that is covered in swater, it seems like it should be like reading and writing," Bennett said.

She says every child should know what to do when they fall into the water.

Barbara Underill, the former world figure skating champion, lost a daughter in a backyard pool accident 12 years ago.

"It's really exciting to see people are listening," she said.

"People are taking notice, people are understanding that swimming is a life skill that that all our children should have."

In the most recent statistics, drowning deaths in Ontario were up from record lows in the 1990s, according to the Lifesaving Society, an organization that certifies lifeguards and analyzes drowning deaths to promote safety.

There were 144 drownings and other preventable water-related deaths in Ontario during 2001 -- the latest year for which there are statistics. That is up by eight per cent from the previous year's all-time low of 133 deaths in 2000.

Nationally, there were 431 water-related fatalities in Canada during 2001, down by 9 per cent from 2000, and down 15 per cent from the past five-year average (1997-2001).

I don't dispute that every child should know how to swim at least well enough to make it to shore should they fall into the water. That said, I don't know that making it part of the curriculum is either feasible or necessary for the government. Those statistics also leave questions unanswered, such as, how many of those children who drowned were unable to swim? Many drownings occur in which the victim is at least a competent swimmer to whom having swimming as part of the curriculum wouldn't have helped at all.

Morgan Spurlock doesn't fact-check

"Fat is deadly. Obesity-related illnesses will kill around 400,000 Americans this year--almost the same as smoking." Or maybe not quite that deadly..., but who wants something like facts to get in the way of a good statistic?

Besides fact-checking is for lesser beings, not for documentary film-makers, or at least that is the theory that some of them (coughMichaelMoorecough) seem to operate under.

Charges laid against Saddam

First charges have been laid against Saddam Hussein.

The charges relate to the killing of Shi'ite Muslims in the village of Dujail, north of Baghdad, in 1982.

Judge Raed Jouhi said court proceedings against Saddam and the others could begin "within days".

According to Iraq's justice system there must be at least 45 days between charges being brought and a trial beginning.

Diplomatic sources in Baghdad said Jouhi was probably referring to pre-trial motions rather than the trial itself.

Band encourages copying

A British band is encouraging fans to download tracks, demos and works in progress from their webpage.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Liberals struggling to raise money

The Liberals raised $5.2 million in private sector donations last year compared to the Conservatives $10.9 million.

OTTAWA (CP) - If dollars and cents are an accurate measure of a political party's health, the federal Liberals have a bad case of the financial sniffles. And some are worried it could turn into full-blown pneumonia.

The party that has ruled Canada for most of the last century - and enjoyed an unbroken run in power since 1993 - raised a disappointing $5.2 million in private-sector donations last year, less than half the rival Conservatives who took in $10.9 million.

The Grits stepped up their efforts in the first half of 2005, reporting contributions of $2.2 million between January and March. But they still didn't equal the $2.6 million raised by the Tories.

Since then the Gomery inquiry into the federal sponsorship scandal has cast a new chill on Liberal efforts.

In the most explosive testimony of the spring, ad executive Jean Brault claimed he funnelled $1.1 million in off-the-books money to the Quebec wing of the Liberals in exchange for federal contracts.

Brault's contentions were challenged by other witnesses, but the damage was done.

"Who would want to be associated with that kind of fundraising?" snorted Ian Brodie, executive director of the Conservatives.

"I expect they're going to have trouble raising money from individuals at all for the balance of 2005."

A lot of their fundraising problems, while exacerbated by Adscam come more from the finance laws put in place at the end of Cretien's reign. The Liberals have always received a great deal of their money from businesses while the Canadian Alliance/Reform had a large grassroots contigent that means that the new laws are far more favorable to Conservative fundraising then Liberal.

Of course, with shadow of Adscam hanging over their heads, I suspect that asking for money is a little more uncomfortable then it may have been a couple years ago for Liberal fundraisers.

"I’m glad you’ve decided not to kill it."

Alas (a blog)

In the comments to Pro-choice and pregnant, Robert said

Oh, and congratulations on the baby. I’m glad you’ve decided not to kill it.

Ignoring for the moment the question of whether that was intended as deliberate provocation, I wanted to address the question of whether it’s even accurate. I’m not sure it is.

“Decided not to…” implies that the possibility has been given some consideration, however fleeting; I might say, for example, “I thought about buying the Kaiser Chiefs album but decided not to.” If the option hasn’t been consciously considered and rejected, it doesn’t really make sense to imply a decision has been made. I wouldn’t say that I’ve decided not to move to Milton Keynes, become a chartered accountant or take up underwater basketweaving, and nor would I say that I’ve decided not to terminate this pregnancy.

Before I became pregnant, I spent a long time considering the possibility of having a baby. I passionately wanted a family, and although I don’t believe there’s anything special about biological, as opposed to adoptive, parenthood, I decided the simplest way to have a baby of my own was to give birth to one. So to say that I “decided not to adopt” is completely reasonable: I considered the possibility and rejected it.

The decision to become pregnant was less positive: the timing never seemed to be quite right and I wasn’t sure I had the right to inflict myself on a child. I hesitated, and circumstances came together to help me decide. I had the opportunity to have unprotected sex at the appropriate time of the month. I took it, and three nervous weeks later a blood test confirmed my pregnancy.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

BC Human Rights Tribunal Slanders Aboriginals

Who's discrimating against who here?

B.C.'s Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that the International Village Mall in Vancouver discriminated against aboriginal people.

Complainant Gladys Radek was awarded $15,000 in the tribunal's decision Wednesday. Radek claimed she and other native people had been discriminated against by security guards at the mall, who continually barred them from entering the mall.

Human Rights Tribunal member Lindsay Lyster agreed. In her decision, she says the mall's owner, Henderson Development, and Securigard, the mall's former security company, "established a pattern of systemic discrimination."

It was mall policy to deny access to people who had dirty clothing, open sores and wounds, red eyes, and who were acting intoxicated. Lyster ruled that the policy created practices that had an unfair and discriminatory effect on aboriginal people.

It sounds like a reasonable policy to me, as I know that as a shopper I'd rather not find mysefl with dirty, smelly, bleeding and intoxicated fellow shoppers, but I must be a racist or something then. Not like the good Human Rights Tribunal that pronounced that such a policy "established a pattern of systemic discimination" against Aboriginals.


Cherry on NHL Deal: "Sorta socialist, so Canada should like it"

Marx on Ice

As Don Cherry said on CBC Wednesday night, "Sorta socialist, so Canada should like it." Predictions are all over the map on the business impact of the settlement and year-long conflict. Will the league prosper? How many southern U.S. franchises will bite the desert dust? Is it good or bad for Canadian teams?

Here's a tip from an old pro in the business of watching union-controlled industries: Take a look at the Big Three auto firms, unionized railways, telecommunications firms, newspaper workers. Unionization in the private sector has been in decline for decades, in part because workers don't like unions and unions tend to drive jobs away and leave their industries struggling against non-union competitors. Unionized auto production is falling, non-union companies and employment is soaring.

Members of the Players Association, whose misguided intransigence under Bob Goodenow produced the fiasco of the last year, were sold an ideological bill of goods. The very existence of a union, and collective bargaining, in professional sport is an absurdity. Hard to believe that Marx could make a comeback in an environment where workers pull in $2-million a year and live lives of kingly luxury. But great is the power of conventional economic wisdom. Even with their wealth, the players seemed to believe they were somehow exploited workers, victims of oppressive owners --alienated from power and cut off from the big dollars that the owners were amassing on the sweat under their shoulder pads.


Let's hope, though, that as professionals the players have also individually learned a lesson or two in economics and the ideology behind collective bargaining. It's not about open markets, either for the players or the owners. The process locks both sides into inflexible agreements that can only make the teams and the league less able to take on the overwhelming forces of competition -- from other sports such baseball, football, lacrosse and soccer to the mass of entertainment options available.

I expected the owners to win this dispute, at least superficially, as did most people I expect. That said, I think as far as the viability of the league is concerned a full open market with no controls, either minimum or maximum salary would be superior. The league is already over-saturated with teams as it is and instead of determinedly attempted to protect teams that should never have been started in the first place they should just allow them to disband.

As to the out of control spending that the owners are so shrill about...who is signing the paychecks? Exactly, they have no one to blame but themselves for ballooning salaries. And anyways, the salary expansion had tapered off in the last few years without forcing a salary cap on the league.

What we have here is a deal that attempts to level things out, a forced averageness that will leave the league to continue its decreasing emphases on skill, leaving us the fans with increasingly bad hockey, and in the long run destroying the league and possibly the sport.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Grewal accusers connection to the Liberals coincidence I'm sure

National Post

VANCOUVER - The Vancouver businessman who is demanding a tax receipt for money he gave Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal two years ago says he is a member at large of Liberal Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh's riding association.

Sarup Mann insisted that has nothing to do with his now public demands that Mr. Grewal provide him with tax receipts for a $600 donation he made to Mr. Grewal in 2003 and a $1,800 donation he made to Mr. Grewal's wife, Nina, in 2004.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Support for Democracy up

and support for Osama bin Laden down.

Osama bin Laden's standing has dropped significantly in some pivotal Muslim countries, while support for suicide bombings and other acts of violence has "declined dramatically," according to a new survey released yesterday.

Predominantly Muslim populations in a sampling of six North African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries share to a "considerable degree" Western concerns about Islamic extremism, according to the poll by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, conducted by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization.


The one exception is attitudes toward suicide bombings of U.S and Western targets in Iraq, a subject on which Muslims were divided. Roughly half of Muslims in Lebanon, Jordan and Morocco said such attacks are justifiable, while sizable majorities in Turkey, Pakistan and Indonesia disagreed. Yet, support for suicide bombings in Iraq still declined by as much as 20 percent compared with a poll taken last year.

The poll also shows a widespread increase in support for democracy.

Captain's Quarters

Democratization brings hope and a measure of control over one's life, two qualities that have long been absent from the tyrannies and kleptocracies of the Middle East. Until Iraq and Afghanistan showed it could work for Arabs as well as Europeans, the subjects of these autocracies had neither nor any glimmer of possibility of achieving them. Now that they see their cousins able to govern themselves through free elections and hold their leaders accountable for their actions, they understand the futility of suicide attacks and terrorism. Just like anyone else, they will choose freedom and hope over oppression and death.

"I can’t feel for you because I think you’re a non-believer.”

Mohammed Bouyeri begins his trial today by telling the mother of Theo van Gogh, "“I don’t feel your pain. I don’t have any sympathy for you. I can’t feel for you because I think you’re a non-believer.”

The Islamic radical admitted killing Mr van Gogh, a Dutch film-maker, saying that he had been driven by his religious beliefs and would do the same again.

Bouyeri, the son of Moroccan immigrants to the Netherlands, is accused of shooting and stabbing Mr van Gogh to death in broad daylight on a street in Amsterdam last November, before nearly decapitating him and impaling his corpse with a knife, which secured a five-page note declaring a holy war.

He went on to say that he killed van Gogh strictly for existing and made sure that the court knew that he wished to do more killing and would if they let him out.

When people on the Left attempt to argue that we need to understand the Islamist impulse to blunt their anger, they fail to comprehend that anger isn't the problem. Islamists hate non-Islamists, even those Muslims who don't measure up to their standards of belief. Infidels have two choices in their view: to submit to Islamists and become dhimmis, or to die.

Van Gogh, with his documentary work exposing spousal abuse among Islamists, obviously chose against dhimmitude, and Bouyeri made sure he paid for it.

People like Bouyeri do not need excuses in order to kill, however. Bouyeri might find a momentary provocation that rationalizes his hatred and violence, but that hardly means that their actions can be described as rational reactions. Van Gogh's film might provide the kind of motive that make Leftists feel secure in assigning to his murder; after all, they say, if we refrain from talking about the oppressive nature of Islamist culture, we can avoid becoming its victim.

The exact same rationalization occurs when the Left talks about opposing terrorism in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. They fret that fighting back against the Islamists create more terrorists, and that if we just left them alone, their vile cult would simply cease to exist, as they would have no provocation to kill. But that really isn't the price for survival, as the Islamists have demonstrated for a dozen years or more. They will not quit killing infidels until the nonbelievers accept Islamist supremacy, at first in the Middle East and eventually across the globe.

The Left argues for dhimmitude. They want to make nice with the lunatics who would kill us with as much feeling as Bouyeri had for the grieving mother of his victim in court. They excuse and rationalize the Islamists' behavior while blaming the West for somehow provoking them to anger through defending liberty and religious freedom. They rally to demand a surrender to people like Bouyeri, hoping that the Bouyeris of the world will kill someone else other than them first.

In the end, the Left has no more feeling toward Van Gogh and his right to freedom of speech than does Bouyeri towards Van Gogh's mother. They have just as little regard for those Western nations which protect those rights and want to ensure that others have them as well. They've already accepted their dhimmitude.

I think that Captain Ed pretty much said what there is to say, as I said before, it amazes me the lefts ability to completely miss the point and to hold on to the belief that if we just give them everything they want and smile and act nice everyone will get along and they will stay in their countries and not try and kill us. People like Boureyi prove this to be a false hope.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

NHL lock-out is over

The longest labour battle in North American professional sports history is over

The longest labour strife in the history of pro sports in North America is over, with both sides coming to an agreement. That means fans will see a 2005-2006 NHL hockey season kick off this fall.

After marathon talks that began Tuesday at noon and continued through the night into Wednesday morning, the NHL and the NHL Players' Association put the finishing touches on a six-year collective bargaining agreement.

After a year of bickering, it seems that the owners have pretty much got what they wanted, I'm not convinced that the owners were right in this case however. It's not like the league wasn't competitive, because it was, the last team to win back-to-back cups was Detroit in the late '90s, and last year the winner was who? Tampa Bay Lightning in a Stanley Cup final in which Calgary was the opposition. Neither were big spenders. And anyways, who buys a sports team to make money?

I tend to feel that if a team cannot compete financially, then they shouldn't be propped up, they should go out of business, just like any other business that isn't viable.

The deal?

TSN is reporting the possible features of the agreement:

* Term - 6 years (through 2010-11), with option
* Revenue split - Players get 54% of defined revenues
* Payroll in Escrow - Percentage of Salaries
* Payroll Range (including costs) - $21.5 to $39 million US, which is based on projected revenues of $1.8 billion US
* Salary Rollback - 24% across the board
* Maximum Salary - 20% of Team Cap ($7.4 Million US)
* Minimum Salary - $450,000 US

As well there is the usual proposal of moronic rule changes to improve the gameplay.

To revitalize their on-ice product, the league is expected next week to announce, along with details of the new agreement, major changes to the game's rules which are intended to increase the game's appeal and win more fans.

These include:

* A three-minute overtime period with three players from each team, should the score remain tied following the current five-minute overtime.
* The fan-friendly shootout, which will be used if games remain tied.
* Removing the red line to allow two-line passes without an off-side being called. This would presumably open up offensive chances and allow for more breakaways.
* Reducing the size of goalie equipment, intended to allow for more goals to be scored.

The first rule change, stupid and pointless, what the heck is wrong with a tie? Leave it instead of dragging the game out forever in a desperate bid to get a winner.

Of course, the shoot-out is even worse, I hate shoot-outs and hope they come to their senses and realize that adding one won't improve the game.

The last two on the other hand are good ideas which I don't know why they didn't do ten years ago. I also think that they should eliminate icing.

Trial of Theo Van Gogh's killer

I mentioned Theo Van Gogh in this post earlier today and discovered now while reading Instapundit that the trial for his killer has begun

One of the absolute benefits of the Van Gogh trial is the fact that in Mohammed Bouyeri we have pure, unrefined jihadist material at our disposal like we have never had it before. The 9/11 hijackers perished together with their innocent victims, many hardcore al-Qaeda and Taliban members have been killed in Afghanistan, the al-Zarqawi division in Iraq is decimated regularly, a number of the Madrid bombers equally perished to the afterlife, and there’s no sign of the London attackers as of yet. What we have been able to incarcerate so far in my opinion is second-tier material, a number of the residents of Gitmo have started talking and some of them have even been released. Not so with Bouyeri, who is likely to remain behind bars forever, silently. And although he won’t say anything and refuses to co-operate, just by observing him we can paint a pretty scary picture, one that reminds us again of what we're actually fighting.

$8 billion BSE disaster blamed on CDN Food Inspection Agency

OTTAWA (CP) - Canada's $8-billion mad cow disaster can be squarely attributed the failure of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to assess economic consequences of even a single infection, says a leading expert.

William Leiss of the University of Ottawa, who is also a past president of the Royal Society of Canada, said the CFIA assessed the risk of mad cow to animal health and human health, but not the risk of losing export markets. Yet Canada was party to an international agreement providing for a ban on exports from any country with even a single case of the disease. The policy was known as "one cow and you're out."

"What would be the economic impact of one or just a few cases of BSE (bovine spongiform encepalopathy) in the Canadian herd?" Leiss asked at a World Health Organization conference on risk management.

"We failed completely to manage or even to recognize this risk at our great cost."

Alberta should seperate

Updated and Bumped

Professor Leon Craig lays out reasons for Alberta seperation

Alberta, he says, should go it alone.

Almost overnight, we would become one of the most prosperous nations in the world.

But -- and this is his key point -- the main reason to secede is not because Albertans would have more money. Not that there's anything wrong with money.

More importantly, we would create a country that reflects our own political and social beliefs, values and traditions, and our understanding of the common good.

Canada, says Craig, has been so badly governed since the Trudeau era, it has doomed itself to a Third World, banana republic fate.

We will become -- are in fact becoming -- the Argentina of the 21st century.

Political corruption gets rewarded instead of punished, productivity slides, and the opportunistic politics of envy becomes the basis of our whole system of national government.

The only promising place left in Canada, he concludes, is Alberta.

And Alberta owes it to itself, to its future citizens, and to like-minded people in the rest of the country to save itself.

As a sovereign and independent nation, he suggests, our population -- viable to begin with -- would double in 10 years, even allowing for a welcome exodus of Albertans who would be happier back in Canada.

Far more good people move to take advantage of opportunity than flee from it.

Our social policies -- marriage and family matters, medicare, civil and religious freedoms, etc. -- would no longer be imposed by the Supreme Court and a handful of Ottawa mandarins.

We could establish our own laws to deal with crime and punishment, and our own separate relationship with the Americans.

If we don't do these things now, he says, we'll sink with the Canadian ship.

The professor dismisses the idea of "refederating" Canada along its original lines of strong provinces and a small central government.

He thinks the rest of the country is too far gone to change back to what it was.

He even gives short shrift to the "West."

Any attempt to create a new federalism, even in the West, he believes will fail. If other western provinces, or parts of provinces, want to join Alberta, by becoming part of it, they should be welcomed.

All that binds Albertans to Canada, he concludes, is sentiment -- an attachment to Canada's once-illustrious military and pioneer past, and to our own provincial part in it.

We must now face the fact that the old Canada is gone forever and the new Canada is disgusting.

Maybe I'm just an optimist, but I am not entirely convinced that strengthening the provinces won't at least cause something of a check to the current corrupt governing that seems to be accepted as the norm by many Canadians. That said, he does make a strong case, and in at least some regard he is right, and I'm beginning to think that Alberta's seperation (and hopefully-and likely-Saskatchewan along with it) is essentially inevitable.

I will go on the record saying that Alberta will likely be gone within the next five years, and should the Liberals manage to either win the next election or hold the CPC to a weak minority, they will definitely be gone. This is something that I would never have imagined two years ago.


From the Shotgun

What if Alberta were to separate? Would what is left of Canada become more left-wing and interventionist? Would the rest of us go along with the trend toward looking to Ottawa for solutions to problems?

Would Alberta also become more of a nanny state as its gubmnt struggled with how to distribute the largess from its oil resources? [For example, see The Emirates Economist for a multitude of stories on how the United Arab Emirates intervenes in the marketplace, in part to make its nationals better off but without allowing ex-patriots to share in the gains]. Would the Alberta gubmnt start providing more "free" health care, "free" education, "free" highways, "low-cost" housing, "low-cost" insurance, etc? If so, it would lose much of what Craig thinks has made it so successful up until now.

My guess is that if Alberta were to separate from the rest of Canada, the division of oil revenues would lead to gubmnt policies that would slowly erode the rugged individualism that made Alberta the success story it has become.

Another point which would lead towards eventual trouble is the simple loss of the culture of alienation, us westerners define ourselves in a large part by the slights of Ottawa past and present and yet to come, as an idependant nation, we would have only ourselves to blame.

Why do Canadians love Tim Horton's so much?

Monte Solberg delivers a fierce rebuke to Americans and their weak and tasteless coffee, and pledges his allegience to that Canadian shrine that is Tim Horton's.

How did Tim's become the shrine of all that is Canadian? How did it rise from simply being another donut place, to being an epitome of all that is Canadian. It cannot simply be the coffee, it certainly isn't the donuts, there must be something else, something deeper, something imbedded within it that leaves us helpless from its clutches, desperate to make the frequent pilgrimage to the shrine to worhip.

And you don't have to pay ten dollars for the priviledge of strong coffee at Tim Horton's either, unlike Starbucks.

Islam and Violence

Charles Moore in the Telegraph asked some hard questions about Islam

What strikes one again and again about the reaction of the public authorities, of commentators, of the media, is the terrible lethargy about studying what it is we are up against. We are dealing with an extreme interpretation of one of the great religions of the world.

We flap around, looking for moderates and giving them knighthoods, making placatory noises, putting bits of Islam on to the multi-faith menu in schools, banishing Bibles from hospital beds, trying to criminalise the expression of "religious hatred", blaming George Bush and Tony Blair. But if we do not know the way the faith in question works, its history, its quarrels, its laws and demands, we will not have the faintest chance of distinguishing the true moderate from the fellow-traveller or of bearing down on the fanaticism.

If you look at the Koran, you will find many glorifications of violence. In Sura No 8, for example, God is quoted as saying: "I shall cast terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads, strike off the very tips of their fingers!" This punishment comes to them for having "defied God and His apostle". It seems reasonable to ask Muslims what this sort of remark means in the modern world.


The mayor of our bombed city has himself got involved with Muslim leaders who say some interesting things. Last year, Mr Livingstone extended a warm welcome in London to Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a mainstream, world-famous spiritual leader based in Qatar.

Qaradawi has supported suicide bombing against Israelis, the treatment of all Jews as legitimate targets, the whipping of homosexuals and the killing of all Americans - civilian and military - in Iraq. Surely, Ken recognises an ideology here, and a faith of sorts? Yet he praised, rather than condemned, and so now, when the logical extension of such ideas hits King's Cross and the Edgware Road and kills dozens of his voters, he has to say that such deeds arise from no belief at all.

There seem to be two broad reasons why many Muslim leaders appear unable or unwilling to break absolutely with the teachings that give cover to violence. The first is that their religion is much more literal and much more political than modern Christianity. Its Prophet was a political and military leader.


In addition, the religion is absolute in its attitude to particular bits of territory. It is forbidden, for example, that any other religion be practised in the Arabian peninsula, because that land is considered sacred to Islam. Therefore, it is hard for a "moderate" to oppose the second-class citizenship of Christians or Jews in Muslim lands, or to say that "infidels" fighting in Muslim countries should not be murdered - even when they are his fellow citizens in a Western country.


The second reason is that the leaders are frightened. In private conversations with the moderates, one is always told that they are under "enormous pressure", that they risk losing control of their own people, and therefore they cannot say very fierce things against the extremists. One must accept that this pressure exists, which only goes to show how serious the problem is.

As a further comment on the reference to Christian atrocities past, first, how long does a religion have to be punished for past misguided policy, and perhaps more importantly, what does that have to do with Islam? Alright, sure, the Catholic Church may have committed atrocities in their determined attempts to stamp out heresy, however, that is not the current question. The question is, does Islam promote terrorism? Now, I am not an expert on Islam, and I am not going to say that it does, however, should one take a look at the behavior of its followers, there is something wrong somewhere, something that leads many to be willing to kill themselves in a bid to kill 'infidels' to little real purpose.

Look further at such examples as Dutch film-maker Theo Van Gogh who was murdered after making a film that criticised the treatment of women in Muslim culture. While all Muslims should not be castigated for that actions of a small number of them, that majority, particularly those in positions of influence, remain silent on the actions of the few.

Telegraph article via Small Dead Animals

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Hammas: Israel's days are numbered

Via Captain's Quarters

For those who keep insisting that the Palestinians only want to live in peace and only resort to violence because of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the popular Hamas "Party" would like clear up that misunderstanding. Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar told an Italian journalist that any agreement reached with the Israelis only amounts to a temporary solution, allowing them to gather strength to wipe out the Jewish state within a decade:

Hamas will not compromise on one inch of Greater Palestine, Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar told an Italian newspaper earlier this week.

Speaking to the Corriere Della Sera newspaper, al-Zahar said Hamas would "definitely not" be prepared for coexistence with Israel should the IDF retreat to its 1967 borders.

"It can be a temporary solution, for a maximum of 5 to 10 years. But in the end Palestine must return to become Muslim, and in the long term Israel will disappear from the face of the earth."

Asked about Hamas's intentions to carry out terror attacks in coordination with the disengagement plan, al-Zahar said Hamas has already promised not to initiate violence, and that the group's actions would be in response to Israeli actions.

"We won't disrupt the Israeli withdrawal, let them get out of here and go to hell," he said. "The problem will be afterwards, because in the hearts of every Palestinian, the liberation of Gaza must be accompanied by the liberation of Jerusalem and the West Bank."

It continues to amaze me how, despite statements such as that, plus the fact that the Palestinians have propagated a campaign of terror and attacks on civilians, especially woman and children, as their stategy to achieve their historically questionable aims, and yet, Israel is repeatedly portrayed as the bad guy in the whole affair.

Terrorists are not reasonable people, why does the media insist on treating them as though they are?

You are how you tip

Your restaurant meal is over and you're about to leave. Now comes the hard part: How much do you tip?

Almost without exception, Amy, my wife, casts a disapproving glance when I add 20% or more to the check. But that's fine, because I express similar dismay at her parsimony when the tipping is in her court -- like the time she offered the pizza-delivery boy all of 50 cents for his effort.

OK, it's true that tipping isn't the most pressing money matter that people deal with. Yet it's sometimes one of the most contentious.

On one level, the disagreement is simple: We all place a different value on the services we receive. Your definition of appropriate may be my definition of stinginess.

But the tipping controversy goes beyond that: It's also about appearance and ego, a litmus test for the kind of person we're perceived to be, and the kind of person we perceive others to be. We want to come across as fair though not excessive, prudent yet not cheap.

It's a balancing act that, while it might not always be conscious, shapes the way we dole out gratuities. And when you and your dining companion are on different ends of the spectrum, the size of the tip can leave a bitter taste in your mouth after every meal.

I don't have a rule as to an ammount and never use the bill to calculate it. If the service is bad I decrease the tip, and if it is really bad, I'll admit, I might not leave a tip at all. After all, I don't think that tipping should be some obligatory thing that one feels they must do after every meal. You already pay for the meal, why should you tip even if the service was poor. The tip should be a bonus, a reward for a job well-done, not a customary thing that you do because it's what a person does.

Maybe I'm just cheap and justifying it, but I've left tips that were as high as half the bill before as well, but not because it's what I do, but because I felt that it was deserved.

Down the obligatory tipping I say, tip on merit.

"Nobody docks my pay if I'm particularly grumpy at work or if I make a mistake," she says. "I just find it a little unseemly to lower a person's pay by $5 because they didn't bring me my meal fast enough.

It's not docking their pay due to bad service, but not giving them a bonus that they didn't earn. If you are average at your job do you get a 20% tip at the end of the year? Not usually.

Two-tier health in Alberta?

Well, as far as two-tier systems go, this plan is pretty tame.

Alberta's health reform plan will offer basic care for all, but those who can afford extras could get nicer hospital rooms and better-quality hip replacements.

Premier Ralph Klein and Health Minister Iris Evans denied Tuesday it was a two-tiered approach.

"The premier has said many times, if you're sick or you're injured, you will get the care that you need," Evans said in Calgary.

However, Liberal Party Leader Kevin Taft said: "There's no question we're headed towards a two-tiered health-care system from what I've seen today. That just goes against everything that we stand for in Alberta."

Taft called on the federal government to penalize Alberta for violating the universality provisions of the Canada Health Act.

After the CBC got the evil Albertans trying to destroy medicare they included some other details:

Some of those changes could include tying a person's prescription drug bill to their income.

People may be allowed to use secondary insurance to pay for expanded podiatry and chiropractic services. Albertans now have to pay for those expenses out of their own pockets.

Other proposed reforms include:

* Electronic health records for Albertans
* Moving to teams of doctors and health specialists
* Bulk purchases of drugs
* Hiring more doctors and nurses
* Improving long-term and rural care

One idea the ministry plans to study are the pros and cons of tax incentives or other benefits to encourage people to stay healthy.

I don't really think that there'd be much benefit derived from that last suggestion.

Overall, it is a pretty tame challenge of the Canada Health Act, but not one which I'm entirely sure is the way to go. If you pay you get a nicer room and better hip replacement? No matter, what he'd done he would likely have received bad press, but that seems like it's asking for it while not really improving service all that substantially.

It doesn't say anything about queue jumping which would be something that would be worth paying for, perhaps Klein doesn't have the guts for that, or he's just testing to see what he can get away with for now with the real challenges to come later.

Rude Canadians

Greg Taylor learned what it means to be an ugly American last month.

Only he's not one.

Not ugly. Not American.

Taylor and his family are Canadian. They moved to Birmingham four years ago when he transferred to work at the Honda plant. They've had a child here. That's child No. 3 for the Taylor family, but U.S. citizen No. 1.

In June the Taylors drove to Ontario, Canada, to attend a funeral and have a little vacation. It turned into what Taylor calls an "eye-opener."

Driving along Highway 400 in Canada. a driver surprised them with a rude hand gesture.

"He gave me the one-finger salute," Taylor said. "I wondered if I'd cut somebody off."

But it happened again.

And again.

Then it dawned on Taylor. He was driving through Canada with Alabama plates. With American plates. He was perceived as American, and he was feeling a kind of ill-will he'd never known.

How id lost it's FPS crown

This article does an excellant job articulating my own criticisms of Doom 3 and exploring how it is that id has for the first time failed to set the industry standard with their new game. Doom 3 is too slow, too over-written, the AI sucks, and the plot is old. Though Steve Bowler only makes passing mention of it, in my mind the current best FPS out there is Halo 2, it does a great job of combining plot with stupid violence.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince leaked

A Superstore in Vancouver accidently sold fifteen copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince prior to it's release date. Raincoast managed to get an injunction forbidding those who received the books from talking about them and offered incentives if people would return them.

More on Cadman's death

Captain Ed has posted on the death of Cadman and it's effect on the Liberals

Despite electing Cadman as its representative, the Surrey riding favors Conservatives more than Liberals, and a special election in that district would probably send a Tory to replace Cadman. That would amplify the problem created by Cadman's death, resulting in what would be a two-vote swing. The only other option would be to force the seat to remain open until the next general election, which would still give the Grits one less vote on which to depend. In May, that would have caused new general elections by now.

One issue missing from the Globe & Mail's calculations, and apparently the Liberals' as well, is the fact that allowing the seat to remain unfilled means that Surrey will have no representation in Parliament for up to six months. Doesn't that matter to anyone in Canada? The political machinations appear to take precendence over the right of Surrey voters to have their voice heard in the Commons, at least for the G&M and for the Liberals as well.

Shinder Purewall, an expert with "strong Liberal connections", claims that it would be "unseemly" to rush a by-election after the death of a legend like Cadman. I would say that forcing an entire riding to lose its participation in federal politics in order to artificially maintain the minority government of a party that Cadman only briefly supported would be even more unseemly, and certainly undemocratic. Using Cadman's death and legend to disenfranchise Surrey goes beyond that to sheer exploitation and ghoulishness.

Surrey should demand an election to fill its open seat, and Canadians of all political stripes should support them. If the Liberals want to claim to represent the will of the people, it should take care that all of the people have their legitimate representation in the Commons.

I'm not entirely sure that Cadman was a 'legend', also, from what I've heard recently from people I know who are somewhat connected with the riding, the Tories managed to alienate much of the riding with the Cadman debacle, and it was more of a Reform riding then a Conservative riding in the first place, meaning, he was elected as a populist more then anything. So, whatever the history (I don't actually know how it voted before Cadman), it's not exactly a safe seat anymore.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Chuck Cadman dies

Chuck Cadman died earlier today at the age of 57.

"Chuck was a decent man," Conservative Leader Stephen Harper told CTV News. "He entered politics for a cause. He fought his illness with a cheerful dignity. And we will all miss him.

"I just want to add that I and his former colleagues in the Conservative caucus will continue the fight for youth criminal justice reform that brought him into politics."

Although he came to the national stage during the budget battle, Cadman was well-known to his B.C. constituents for his battles with the criminal justice system.

In 1999, Cadman managed to achieve one of his own major goals -- sponsoring a private member's bill to toughen penalties for parents who fail to comply with court orders to supervise their children.

This bill, which became law, was inspired by his own tragedy. One of the boys involved in his son's stabbing was a young offender who hadn't complied with the orders of his probation.

Cadman is survived by his wife Dona and a daughter Jodi.

A memorial service will be held at the Johnston Heights Church in Surrey on July 16 at 11 a.m., according to a news release issued by family.

Speilberg to exploit Black September in Anti-Bush movie

Via Captain's Quarters

The Telegraph reports that Steven Spielberg has started filming a new movie about the terrorist attack on the 1972 Olympics in Munich, in which Palestinian terrorists murdered eleven Israeli athletes. Spielberg has shrouded the project in secrecy. However, Hugh Davies reports that one of the consultants for the project has tipped off the Israelis that the film will concentrate on the Mossad's actions in going after the terrorist planners in the attack's aftermath rather than the attacks themselves:

The material is so delicate that the project, which is being filmed in Malta, is shrouded in secrecy.

For while movies like 1977's Raid on Entebbe, starring Peter Finch and Horst Buchholz, portray Israel in a heroic stance, the new picture is about the misgivings of Golda Meir, the then Israeli prime minister, as agents from Mossad tracked down the perpetrators. ...

The climax will show how the Israeli operatives, tired after months of undercover work, killed Ahmed Bouchike, a Moroccan waiter they mistook for a Palestinian leader. Israel has never claimed responsibility for the team, which included Ehud Barak, the future prime minister, who dressed as a woman to surprise three PLO leaders in Beirut.


Why would Spielberg decide to focus so heavily on Israel's response instead of the terrorist attacks that initiated their actions? Exactly for the reasons given by Craig, only Spielberg doesn't intend on passing judgment merely on Israel for going after the terrorists that targeted its civilians. If these reports are accurate, he intends on passing judgment on America for going after the terrorists that targeted our civilians on 9/11. Spielberg has long opposed the Iraq War and the Bush administration for its efforts to eliminate the threat of Islamofascist terror and tyranny.

Make no mistake -- if Ross and Craig are correct, then Spielberg wants to use the murders of eleven Israeli athletes to issue an anti-Bush polemic. The film will be used as an argument for inaction and introspection instead of fighting the bloodthirsty lunatics that deliberately target and kill civilians. It will provide the ultimate in moral-relativist thinking and terrorist apologetics.

Hollywood continues to insist on using tragedy to promote their own left-wing idealogy of how the world should be. It's not based on reality, or always rational thought, but that doesn't seem to bother them all that much, surrounded by the non-reality of their own lives, how can they really be expected to have an unskewed view of things?

Friday, July 08, 2005

Baseballs axed from the Olympics

As the European dominated Olympic Committee continue to strive to prevent the U.S from winning medals, they have removed baseball and softball from the 2012 Olympics.

Ahenakew found guilty

Member of the Order of Canada (for the moment)David Ahenakew has been found guilty of promoting hatred.

In 2002 he described Jews as a disease and justified the holocaust while speaking to a reporter.

"I'm innocent of the charges brought against me and I will be appealing the court's decision," Ahenakew told reporters. "I have learned that native people will never get good, solid justice in this country."

Ahenakew also said he would fight a plan by Order of Canada officials to strip him of the honour he earned in 1978.

"I'm telling you I will not throw this back at them," he said.

A council that admits people into the Order of Canada said it has given Ahenakew until Saturday to turn in the award or defend why he shouldn't.

After the verdict Ahenakew lashed out, proclaiming it to be another example of the justice system being skewed against First Nations people.

"My case was as much about racism against First Nations as it was about alleged racism against Jewish people," said Ahenakew, wearing his controversial Order of Canada pin. He called the charges "ridiculous."

My question is, at what point does free speech end and hate crimes begin? Should we be censoring the mouths of people in the name of human rights, or remember that free speech is a founding principle of democracy, whether what a person says is absolutely abhorrent or not.

Leader Post

SASKATOON -- A furious David Ahenakew vowed Friday to fight back after he was found guilty of wilfully promoting hatred and fined $1,000 for justifying the Holocaust, and saying Jewish people are a "disease."

"I'm innocent of the charges brought against me and I will be appealing the court's decision," said the former head of the Assembly of First Nations in an emotional news conference following the court's decision.

"I have learned that native people will never get good, solid justice in this country. My case was as much about racism against First Nations as it was about alleged racism against Jewish people."

Lashing out at the courts, Ahenakew said: "First Nations people have never received a fair trial in Canada's judicial system since the first so-called white settlers arrived here more than 400 years ago.

"The jails in this country are full of our people. We are more likely to be victims of crime, more likely to be convicted, less likely to receive either lenient sentences or parole.

"Our ways of life have been nearly eradicated, our languages have been taken away, and we've suffered under deliberate genocidal policies designed to rid the world of us."

Visibly angry, Ahenakew continued his tirade, in a voice quavering with emotion.

"Our children have been brutalized and raped at the hands of foreigners. Our people have been murdered by law enforcement agencies set up to protect us and infected with diseases by the people who saw this as a way to gain our lands," he said.

Not to say that Natives haven't been victims of racism, but they aren't doing themselves many favours as far as advancing their cause goes, and tirades like that aren't going to help, nor will Anti-Semetic remarks.

Hate-crimes in Saskatoon

Small Dead Animals

Via several callers to John Gormley LIve today, the level of violence by Indian gangs in Saskatoon is escalating - and it's being directed towards whites at random, often as part of gang initiations. The latest attack occured in front of Mac's store on Canada Day, sending at least one young teenager to hospital, and injuring 10 to 15 others.

One parent described arriving on the scene to overhear "this is what you get for celebrating the day you stole our land". Another caller described an separate incident in which members of the Indian Posse pulled two of his co-workers out of a truck and knifed them.

Though Gormley tried hard to redirect comments from the racial angle to the more PC "disaffected youth" euphanism, it didn't work very well - the parents whose children have been the targets of the attacks weren't playing that game. As one remarked - if there were large gangs of white teenagers swarming Indian kids at a First Nations event to earn their gang colours, it would be national news.

Hard not to argue.

Emphasis mine, are we so afraid of appearing racist, that we are forced to ignore racism if it is committed by the right (wrong?) people?

Al-Qaeda bombs Britain

Al-Qaeda claims responsibility for the bomb attacks in London earlier today.

At least two people have been killed and scores injured after three blasts on the Underground network and another on a double-decker bus in London.

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said it was "reasonably clear" there had been a series of terrorist attacks.

He said it was "particularly barbaric" that it was timed to coincide with the G8 summit. He is returning to London.

An Islamist website has posted a statement - purportedly from al-Qaeda - claiming it was behind the attacks.

Statement from World Leaders

Blair, host of the Group of Eight summit, rushed home to tend to the crisis. He returned hours later, in time for a working dinner and Friday's concluding session.

"We will not allow violence to change our societies or our values nor will we allow it to stop the work of this summit," Blair said after the attacks. The flags of all nations at the summit were lowered to half-staff.

Captain's Quarters

If AQ thinks that they can frighten Blair and the British out of the war on terror by bombing London, I believe they are quite mistaken. Another lunatic used terror on Londoners on a much more massive scale for years at a stretch, thinking that the same kind of attacks would panic the British into surrendering, or at least into withdrawing from the conflict. The Blitz did neither. It hardened British resolve to stamp out the cancerous philosophy of fascism and to destroy the governments that used it to oppress their own people, commit genocide on ghastly scales, and attack peaceful civilian populations to further their political goals.

Hitler didn't succeed at his campaign of intimidation. Osama bin Laden won't either. Put simply, the British are not Spaniards. They will arise in fury and a renewed sense of mission to stamp out the bloodthirsty terrorists who have committed this heinous act -- and we will stand with them to do so, just as they have stood with us these long years since 9/11.

Al-Qaeda, like all terrorists, fail to understand that all they are succeeding in doing is keeping themselves down, Palestine has spent the last thirty years bombing civilians and killing children in the name of 'freedom' and yet allow the people that they supposedly are doing this to help to live in poverty, though perhaps that is all part of the grand plan, because comfortable educated people don't make good suicide bombers do they?

Mark Steyn on Live8

If you can't sneer at rock stars in the Telegraph, where can you?

Seven years ago, you'll recall, Sir Paul's wife died of cancer. Linda McCartney had been a resident of the United Kingdom for three decades but her Manhattan tax lawyers, Winthrop Stimson Putnam & Roberts, devoted considerable energy in her final months to establishing her right to have her estate probated in New York state.

That way she could set up a "qualified domestic marital trust" that would... Yeah, yeah, yeah, in the immortal words of Lennon and/or McCartney. Big deal, you say. We're into world peace and saving the planet and feeding Africa. What difference does it make which jurisdiction some squaresville suit files the boring paperwork in?

Okay, I'll cut to the chase. By filing for probate in New York rather than the United Kingdom, Linda McCartney avoided the 40 per cent death duties levied by Her Majesty's Government. That way, her family gets all 100 per cent - and 100 per cent of Linda McCartney's estate isn't to be sneezed at.

For purposes of comparison, Bob Geldof's original Live Aid concert in 1985 raised £50 million. Lady McCartney's estate was estimated at around £150 million. In other words, had she paid her 40 per cent death duties, the British Treasury would have raised more money than Sir Bob did with Bananarama and all the gang at Wembley Stadium that day.

Given that she'd enjoyed all the blessings of life in these islands since 1968, Gordon Brown might have felt justified in reprising Sir Bob's heartfelt catchphrase at Wembley: "Give us yer fokkin' money!" But she didn't. She kept it for herself. And good for her. I only wish I could afford her lawyers.

I don't presume to know what was in her mind, but perhaps she figured that for the causes she cared about - vegetarianism, animal rights, the usual stuff - her money would do more good if it stayed in private hands rather than getting tossed down the great sucking maw of the Treasury where an extra 60 million quid makes barely a ripple.

And, while one might query whether Sir Paul (with his own fortune of £500 million) or young Stella really need an extra 15 million or so apiece, in the end Linda McCartney made a wise decision in concluding that her estate would do more good kept out of Mr Brown's hands, or even re-routed to Africa, where it might just about have defrayed the costs of the deflowering ceremony for the King of Swaziland's latest wife.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

565 people donate $3.9 million to the Libs and get $7.4 million in return

Fraser Institute

Executive Summary: The numbers of people and amounts of money involved in the Gomery inquiry are larger than previously known. Problems with federal government sponsorship and advertising programs can be understood using an economic theory of incentives and institutional structure.

This study finds that at least 565 organizations and individuals are identified in reports and testimony related to the Gomery inquiry. The original 2003 Auditor General sponsorship and advertising report cited only 71 organizations. The activities under investigation are therefore quite widespread.

The people identified in these reports and testimony are politicians and bureaucrats (government insiders), and political party members and business people(government outsiders). This paper finds that almost all of them have an exclusive financial link to the Liberal Party of Canada (hereafter referred to as the Liberal party). They donated at least 40 times more to the Liberal party than to all of the other main political parties combined from 1993 to 2003.

This paper finds that these individuals privately donated at least $3.9 million to the Liberal party and received at least $7.4 million in private payments from the Liberal party from 1993 to 2003. The Gomery inquiry forensic report found only $2.5 million in Liberal party donations.

The same people also received public (tax funded) payments from the federal government, and this was the underlying incentive that encouraged inappropriate behaviour and relationships.

But I'm sure that there was no dirty money involved and if there was the Liberals will refund the tax-payers, blah blah blah /Scott Brison Impersonation

UPDATE: Captain's Quarters

I haven't watched the TV news or listened to the radio for a couple days, but glancing around at a few Canadian news sites, this report doesn't seem to be getting any play at all.

Updade: Stephen Taylor

Particularly striking were donations made to the Liberal Party of Canada by the RCMP and by the Privy Council Office.

For the "privilege" of protecting the Prime Minister and other members of his campaign team during the 2000 campaign, the RCMP paid the Liberal Party $112,000 for seats accompanying the PM.

The Fraser Institute reports:

"It is an apparent conflict of interest for government agencies, especially those engaged in law enforcement, to pay a governing political party for services rendered during an election. This financial entanglement can impair perceptions of independence and due process that are essential to the proper functioning of those agencies." -- Fraser Institute report, July 2005

One would expect that the taxpayer would pay for the services of the RCMP to protect the Prime Minister. However, it is counter-intuitive that the RCMP (ie. the taxpayer) would pay a private organization (ie. the Liberal party) for work done by the federal law enforcement agency.

The Privy Council Office paid $44,000 to the Liberal Party for similar "services".

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Spy satellites to stop speeders

Forget cameras, drivers in London faced with having spy device placed in car to prevent speeding.

IT IS the ultimate back seat driver. Motorists face having their cars fitted with a “spy” device that stops speeding.

The satellite-based system will monitor the speed limit and apply the brakes or cut out the accelerator if the driver tries to exceed it. A government-funded trial has concluded that the scheme promotes safer driving.

Drivers in London could be among the first to have the “speed spy” devices fitted. They would be offered a discount on the congestion charge if they use the system.

The move follows a six-month trial in Leeds using 20 modified Skoda Fabias, which found that volunteer drivers paid more attention as well keeping to the speed limit. More than 1,000 lives a year could be saved if the system was fitted to all Britain’s cars, say academics at Leeds University, who ran the trial on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT).

Now, James denounces it as an invasion of privacy, but since, at least for now, it is voluntary, it isn't really an invasion of privacy at all. Is it beneficial? I highly doubt it. Is it a big waste of money that doesn't do anything to address the core problem (i.e. the congestion)? Without a doubt. But invasion of privacy, no, I wouldn't describe it as that.

Brooks Brown on video game violence

Former Columbine student who was friends with both the killers and people killed wrote an interesting piece about video game violence. I'm not sure that I agree with all of his logic, but the core of it I think is true

the kids weren't pushed into doing bad things - they CHOSE it. My parents finally realized that parents suck. It's the parents fault. You don't get this - my PARENTS realized it's the PARENTS fault.

While I'm not a major gamer by any means, I do play games and yes, I do play violent games. Of all the times that I've played GTA, I've never once had a desire to randomly beat someone to death or steal a car or kill a cop in real life, but I've done all three things before in GTA, why and how can I say that it doesn't effect me? Simple, it's a video game, I'm completely aware that I'm playing a game, it's not a real cop, it's not a real pedestrian, it's not a real hooker, it's just a game, and not really a very accurate portrayal of any existing reality either.

Games are what they are, same with movies, or music, they aren't going to drive anyone to do anything, or at least, they won't be the root cause.

Canadian Army forced to use paintballs

So Paul, about that increased funding...

OTTAWA (CP) - Canadian soldiers testing their fighting skills in a rare urban exercise were forced to rent commercial paintball weapons because they couldn't get proper army gear, a newly disclosed document shows.

The unusual paintball battle was fought in the Halifax area last February, as the army practised helicopter evacuations in a hostile urban setting.

Four Griffon helicopters ferried troops from the Halifax Commons across the harbour to an unused military housing complex in Dartmouth, N.S., where room-to-room searches were conducted.

The dramatic training included some civilian participants, and drew curious citizens who were quick to snap souvenir pictures.

An internal report on Exercise Sky Trooper says the "venues provided the maximum amount of realism achievable for a contemporary operation."

But the faux evacuation was marred when soldiers were unable to use their army-issue practice ammunition, which fits into their rifles but fires only low-speed powder balls, leaving a harmless mark on the target.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Solberg's analysis on the session that was

Full text here

First, and surprisingly, the NDP were actually the big losers this session. They thought they did everything right, but they're still stuck at 18% in the latest Ipsos poll. Amazingly the NDP Budget, and Jack's pink cowboy hat just didn't translate into support.

Maybe the best evidence for the fecklessness of the NDP is the recent disastrous turnout in their nomination meeting in Regina Qu'apelle. Think about it. Here's a former NDP riding, in a province with an NDP government, and a contested nomination with four people running. Yet only 200 people came out to vote. Even more pathetic is the fact that Lorne Nystrom was only able to win the thing on the third ballot. Cripes Lorne you've been an MP on and off for decades and you couldn't get a hundred people out to a nomination meeting? Seems Layton-mania has yet to sweep over southern Saskatchewan.

It's nice to hear that as, despite living in southern Saskatchewan, I hadn't heard how the nomination went (or that it was happening for that matter), that said, I'm not really sure that the lack of people turning up for a nomination meeting necessarily translates to a complete lack of support for the NDP, though it is primarily a support for the Tommy Douglas NDP around here, not Jack Layton, who from people whom I've spoken to are generally less then fans. As an example, my grandmother who as voted NDP every election since the fifties has recently changed her allegiance to the Conservatives (yes, the Conservatives), the reality of the country finally overcoming the illusion that was Tommy Douglas.

The Libs spent their spring proving Lord Acton right. Its all about power for them. They cut deals with Jack, Belinda, Chretien and his lawyers, the separatists and provincial premiers. They cut more deals than EBay, but that makes them look desperate and power hungry.

They did go up two points to 35% in the polls (which we don't EVER pay attention to). But shouldn't they be much higher? Some of my media friends told me that the Libs were the big winners on the budget bills and the gay marriage bill. Really? Why isn't it reflected in the polls? I think the Libs are at a ceiling, too.

There's likely a Liberal logo next to power-hungry in the dictionary, as for them looking desperate and power-hungry from the deals they cut...I really don't know how they played, to me they looked desperate and power-hungry, but I'm not exactly an unbiased observer, and even less a Liberal friendly one, so how am I to know how those same moves played to someone who is?

Also the deals with the seperatists critique is odd and doesn't really play all that well as it appeared that the Conservatives were collaborating with the Bloc themselves for much of the session, personally I'm not opposed to certain co-operation with other parties, whether they are seperatists or not, though the Liberal deal was of a completely different nature then the Conservatives co-operation with the Bloc was, the Liberals cut a deal with the Bloc to force an immediate vote while members of the Conservatives were unable to be in the House do to trifles like a funeral, cancer treatment and a sick wife, what a nice bunch those Liberals, what was it that they were using as an excuse as to why they couldn't have a quicker confidence vote after they lost the vote in May? Something about a Queen's visit and how some Members might be unavailable otherwise...

My own analysis of the session?

The NDP is pretty much where they started, the media loves them but voters don't. The Liberals are untrustworthy weasels but about one-third of Canadians are not quite willing to let go of them just yet for reasons that defy comprehension, and Stephen Harper is the most hated Party leader since Stockwell Day which makes his task as a leader very difficult as very little of what he does will receive positive press, and with the pervasive negativity towards the Conservatives it is really difficult to accurately gauge the pulse of the actual people of the nation.

Mark Steyn interview

Right Wing News interviews Mark Steyn and it is full of the insightfulness and sharp wit that has made him a favorite of conservatives everywhere.

Homolka's attempt to muzzle media fails

Yes, I copied the phrase muzzle media because it's just such a good alliteration.

As for her argument, it was rediculous, "No one should talk about me cuz like, I'm scared, someone might like, kill me, I've had like threats you know." Kill you? You mean like the three girls that you helped kill? Excuse me while I weep for you Karla.