Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Is There a Third Liberal Camp?

I've got a question for some of the Liberal Party readers out there, and I'm just going to re-type my title to show some emphasis for it.

Is there a third Liberal camp?

There's always talk in the Liberal camps about Chretienites versus Martinites, but is there another camp led by Pickering-Scarborough East MP, Dan McTeague? In the last little while, Mr. McTeague has garnered quite a bit of exposure for an MP who has been a backbencher for quite some time.

Or, did Mr. McTeague just get more exposure or become more prominent because of the minority government?

The reason I ask (and why I've thought about it):

  • He seemed to be the de facto leader of the anti-same sex marriage crowd in the Liberal Party caucus. In the hours and minutes leading up to the vote on C-38, it was Mr. McTeague defending the anti-SSM Liberals for not defeating the budget and thereby allowing C-38 to pass. At least, that was the appearance on CPAC.
  • He has openly called for hip-hop artist 50 Cent to be prohibited from performing in Toronto apparently not in line with official Liberal caucus wishes. I say "not in line" because there's no push from cabinet to ban 50 Cent. There has, as far as I'm aware, been no rebuke from within the Liberal Party for this public stand.
  • According to How'd They Vote, Dan McTeague holds the record for the most dissentions - 25 - in the 38th Parliament (tied with fellow Liberal MPs, Alan Tonks and Paul Steckle), meaning he has voted 25 times against the Liberal Party line of thinking.
  • He was the one to report that Canadians had been kidnapped in Iraq, presumably in his role as "Parliamentary Secretary for Canadians Abroad", but Canadians being kidnapped in Iraq is significant news - especially when there is no Canadian embassy, so there are negotiations required with the U.K. and the U.S.

Now, does Mr. McTeague wield significant clout within caucus? In the first three points, it seems that he doesn't flow with "general" Liberal strategy and frequently strays off message, but in the last, owning the issue of Canadians kidnapped in Iraq where no official Canadian embassy exists is a significant project.

Personally, I suspect he's garnering more exposure for himself because of the minority parliament situation - he can pretty much do what he wants and the top brass can do little to stop him, but I'm just curious to see what others think. If there is no "sub-camp", is McTeague a Martinite or a Chretienite? Or, none of the above?

I would also suspect that he's been largely the same personality for the years he's been an elected Liberal MP (since October 1993), so wouldn't he have been turfed before this? Or, is he valued because he's a proven commodity as a Liberal candidate.

I'm curious as to your thoughts.

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It's Official Now

It's official now - from Reuters.

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Prime Minister Paul Martin sent Canadians to the polls for a January 23 election on Tuesday, after the opposition brought his minority Liberal government down the night before in a confidence vote.

Martin announced the date after informing Governor-General Michaelle Jean, representative of head of state Queen Elizabeth, that he had lost the confidence of Parliament.

The Liberals were reduced to a minority in the June 2004 election. Martin has been weakened by judicial findings of a Liberal kickback scheme but still leads the Conservatives in popular support.
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Which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Are You?

Hat tip to daveberta for this one.

Take the quiz:
"Which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle are You?"

You can be considered the 'dark one' of your family. You're a hot-head, face it. Or...the 'Realist' some may say. It's a dog-eat-dog world, you're a pretty big dog. You normally lay low until some one gets up your back. You're anti-social and short-tempered...and you're not big on admitting it! But, even though you can act kinda rude and not-there, you're a rather large teddy bear on the inside when it comes to the ones you love...in danger. You hate being called a, 'softy' and you're always ready to 'bring it'.

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Monday, November 28, 2005

Interesting Parliamentary Factoid

James over at Bowie's Call presents an interesting factoid about the upcoming confidence vote.

Ed [Broadbent w]ill be defeating his third minority Parliament today. I believe that this may be more than any Canadian in Parliamentary history.


He defeated the '72 Trudeau government, the '79 Clark government, and now he'll defeat the '05 Martin government.
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It's the Final Countdown ...

I know I shouldn't have used that title. With all due respect to Europe, I'm going to have that awful song in my head all day now. And, just the opening synthesizer part too ...

Anyway, today is expected to be the last full day of work for the minority Liberal government in Ottawa, as they are expected to lose a motion of non-confidence against a united opposition. Mr. Martin will then likely head tomorrow to Rideau Hall and ask the Governor General to dissolve parliament and call for a general election in the new year.

To be honest, I have no idea how this election is going to turn out. I suspect, we'll be in another minority government situation - but who governing, is up for debate.

Depending on your spin, you see a rosey outlook for your party, and I'm largely no different.

I do plan on helping my local Conservative candidate on their campaign, so I'll try to do some posts from the front. Toronto is a near impenetrable Liberal Party stronghold, so it's always interesting the conversations one can find themselves in.

Take a cruise through the 'sphere today, and you'll see other posts and points on the election.

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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Guilty, Part 2

I read PostSecret weekly to see which ones apply to me.

Guilty, once again.

But, in my own defense - I always walk a straight line and I always walk on the right side. What bugs the s*** out of me is when a group of people have to form a "walking wall of humanity", either taking up the whole sidewalk or the entire corridor width. Or, you get somebody gawking at stores or looking up at the clouds or whatever, and they're not paying attention.

If you're ever downtown, and a dude yells, "Heads Up!" - that's likely me. I've started doing that.

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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Which Star Wars Character Are You?

I'm beginning to think that Socialist Swine [h/t] is putting these things up, then timing how fast they show up here.

Han Solo
You scored 12% airiness, 10% squishiness, and 42% edginess!

According to our patented JawamaticTM technology, you
are most like Han Solo in personality.

Han Solo is down-to-earth and improvisational, cool-headed and cynical. Appeals to emotion rarely sway him, but as he matured throughout the saga, he let his less-well-developed compassionate side show occasionally.

Solo is, in a word, cool.

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 4% on airiness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 4% on squishiness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 50% on edginess
Link: The Star Wars Personality Test written by MiguelSanchez on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

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Uh oh ... Somebody's Watching Me

I received the following email from the CIA.
Dear Sir/Madam,

we have logged your IP-address on more than 30 illegal Websites.

Please answer our questions!
The list of questions are attached.

Yours faithfully,
Steven Allison

++++ Central Intelligence Agency -CIA-
++++ Office of Public Affairs
++++ Washington, D.C. 20505

++++ phone: (703) XXX-XXXX
++++ 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., US Eastern time
All that was attached was a virus scan report.

I hope my virus scanner didn't delete all those questions!

Mr. Allison, can you resend this email? i [sic] promise I didn't go to illegal Websites [sic].


PS - It has to be real because "703" is the area code for Arlington, Virginia!

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You Win Some ...

... and you lose some.

Bas Balkissoon, Liberal - 9,347 (57.6%)
Cynthia Lai, Progressive Conservative - 4,032 (24.9%)
Alan Mercer, Libertarian - 100 (0.6%)
Rina Morra, Family Coalition Party - 93 (0.6%)
Wayne Simmons, Freedom Party - 59 (0.4%)
Steven P. Toman, Green Party - 167 (1.0%)
Sheila White, NDP - 2,425 (14.9%)

- Source, Elections Ontario

I said before this was going to be a tough fight, especially so when one of your opponents is a sitting Toronto councillor who's been in the job since 1988. It's almost impossible to beat name recognition like that.

What's unfortunate, however, is it seems only 19% of the riding voted. On the plus side, I wouldn't entirely endorse this as a change in Ontario Liberal fortunes, but I hope Mr. Balkissoon is correct when he says he thinks it was the weather that kept people home and not voter apathy. It doesn't bode well for a federal holiday campaign. For some perspective, Alvin Curling won this riding in the 2003 general election with 24,000 votes.

Now, with Mr. Balkissoon's seat vacated, I wonder if Cynthia should consider running for that council seat? She has the endorsement of two other sitting councillors plus she has done all the campaigning - people know her.

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Thursday, November 24, 2005


H/T Reality Blurred.

After three years of marriage, and careful thought and consideration, we [Jessica Simpson & Nick Lachey] have decided to part ways. … This is the mutual decision of two people with an enormous amount of respect and admiration for each other. We hope that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.
So, Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey have separated.

RB quite rightly points out the huge irony of wanting their separation (and presumably, a future divorce) kept out of the public spotlight.

Well, I don't like to see any marriage breakdown, especially one that was strong. But, then it wasn't. But, then it was again. But, then it wasn't. But, then it was again. Now, it wasn't again. Isn't again. Whatever. Wait, they're on the upswing, now, FER SURE.

And, by the way, I meant to put up a picture of Nick, but they don't have one anywhere. And, I looked.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

By-Election Eve in Scarborough-Rouge River

Tomorrow, November 24, is the provincial by-election for the Ontario riding of Scarborough-Rouge River.

The polls will be open from 9:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. at your designated polling location.

Check the Elections Ontario site, for polling information and the listing of all candidates.

For information about Cynthia Lai, the Progressive Conservative candidate, you can contact her office at:

Main Line: (416) 609-3127
Fax Line: (416) 609-3723
E-mail: Cynthia.Lai@ontariopc.com
Website: http://www.CynthiaLai.com/
Party website: http://www.ontariopc.com/

Cynthia Lai Campaign Office
4 Invergordon Ave., Scarborough, ON M1S 2Y8

You can also contact Cynthia's office if you need a lift to vote.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Rare Look Inside My Brain

Here are a few things I have thought of while inebriated.

1. There is clear inconsistency within some cartoon universes where clothes are optional. Take the popular children's cartoon, Dora the Explorer. Pictured at right is Dora's best friend, Boots the monkey. Now, Boots is so named because he wears just boots.

What I couldn't find was a picture of Boots' parents. Now if you are at all familiar with Dora the Explorer, then you've probably seen them, but probably haven't noticed that his parents are always fully clothed. Boots's father wears a shirt and tie.

Don't they find it odd that their kid runs around in public with nothing on but a pair of red boots?

If you live in a universe where fully anthropomorphic animals are the norm, wouldn't you make sure your kids dressed?

Dora the Explorer isn't the only cartoon that fails this consistency check. The Little Bear universe suffers from this too.

2. While we're on the subject of anthropomorphic animals, how come in some cartoons, some animals are walking and talking, but others are not?

For example, popular childrens cartoon Arthur, the main character, Arthur, an anthropomorphic anteater has a pet dog. Now, in this universe, rabbits, anteaters, and other animals are walking, talking, and going to school - but dogs haven't evolved yet. Why?

3. What flavour is Dr. Pepper?

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Let. It. Go. Already.


Ontario MP Pat O'Brien - who resigned as a Liberal this year because of the marriage issue - has founded Defend Marriage Canada with a Conservative ally.

He and ex-Tory MP Grant Hill, who is a doctor, say the group will raise money, publish letters, and lobby voters to elect candidates who oppose same-sex marriage.
[Canadian Press, Ex-Liberal, ex-Conservative to target same-sex marriage in election]

You know, I have a picture of Jake Blues up in my profile because I like John Belushi, not because I think I'm on a mission from God. I'm surprised at the number of people who think they are.

This should not be a part of someone's candidacy platform nor any party's campaign and I won't support any candidate who puts this as one of their priorities.

There are so many other things worth fighting an election on, pick those.

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Friday, November 18, 2005

A Discovery

Did you know that a white russian has 3 ounces of booze in one drink? That's like drinking one-ounce shots of booze in 3 drinks.

That's bang for your booze dollar.

I think I'm already hungover.

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Which NBA Player Are You Test

H/T Socialist Swine for feeding my net quiz addiction. I'm also glad to know that I'm faster than no one else.
Antoine Walker
30% Speed, 100% Selfishness, 80% Skill, 30% Athleticism

A little pudgy, a little slow... but 'Toine can shoot the ball from the three and could, if he made the effort, play from down low as well. This makes him a rarity in the NBA, sort of like Dirk Nowitzki, if Dirkwas half as talented with twice the ego.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 0% on Speed
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Selfishness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 92% on Skill
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 28% on Athleticism
Link: The Which NBA Player Are You Test written by dgc20e on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Thank You, Mr. McGuinty

I'm happy to say that I was wrong when I ranted and raved about how Premier Dalton McGuinty wouldn't hold to his promise of ending faith-based arbitration in Ontario. I thought that Mr. McGuinty may cave to public pressure not to introduce the legislation but he didn't, or that he would seek some way out that tried to let everyone be happy but would end up with no one being happy.

I support this legislation 100%. I believe there should be one law governing family arbitration and not multiple avenues that carry the potential (or at least the perception of that potential) for unfairness. Advice can be sought from any source, but the law has to be fair to all.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

World's Smallest Political Quiz


The political description that
fits you best is...



LIBERTARIANS support maximum liberty in both personal and

economic matters. They advocate a much smaller government; one

that is limited to protecting individuals from coercion and violence.

Libertarians tend to embrace individual responsibility, oppose

government bureaucracy and taxes, promote private charity, tolerate

diverse lifestyles, support the free market, and defend civil liberties.

The RED DOT on the Chart shows where you fit on the political map.

Your PERSONAL issues Score is 100%.
Your ECONOMIC issues Score is 60%.

You can take the test here.

While I think the test is somewhat simplistic, I do agree with the result. It's somewhat American-centric (privatizing social security which is not something I believe in, nor in relying on personal savings for retirment) but thankfully no question about Iraq. A true centrist is, apparently, somebody who says "maybe" to everything.

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The Reason Howard Stern Isn't Coming to Canada

The Toronto Sun reports that the reason Howard Stern is not being carried in Canada is because the CRTC whined and Sirius bowed to the possibility that there'd be complaints lodged against it:
"When we applied for a licence, the CRTC pushed us about this," he said. "(Stern) was definitely a topic of conversation. We (Standard) are a big broadcaster and have to deal with the CRTC on other issues. And the CBC obviously has a cultural mandate to be concerned with."
I think Sirius Canada is completely wimping out on this and the CRTC should have no mandate to regulate the content of a for-pay service. Absolutely none. It's absolutely ridiculous.

Sounds like the grey market in satellite radio just makes more sense.

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Howard Stern Petition

I'm not entirely sure how effective these online petitions are, but if there's any chance this will help, go sign the petition to encourage Sirius Radio Canada to bring Howard Stern to Canada.


And Sirius, I promise I'll subscribe if you bring Howard in.

Previous post:
Howard Stern Not Coming to Canada.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

What Kind of Humanist Are You?

Another quiz courtesy of Socialist Swine:


You are one of life’s enjoyers, determined to get the most you can out of your brief spell on Earth. Probably what first attracted you to atheism was the prospect of liberation from the Ten Commandments, few of which are compatible with a life of pleasure. You play hard and work quite hard, have a strong sense of loyalty and a relaxed but consistent approach to your philosophy.

You can’t see the point of abstract principles and probably wouldn’t lay down your life for a concept though you might for a friend. Something of a champagne humanist, you admire George Bernard Shaw for his cheerful agnosticism and pursuit of sensual rewards and your Hollywood hero is Marlon Brando, who was beautiful, irascible and aimed for goodness in his own tortured way.

Sometimes you might be tempted to allow your own pleasures to take precedence over your ethics. But everyone is striving for that elusive balance between the good and the happy life. You’d probably open another bottle and say there’s no contest.

What kind of humanist are you? Click here to find out.
I'd have to agree with SS on the Marlon Brando thing - maybe Marlon Brando: The Original Series (up until The Godfather), but then the eating grapes and the Island of Dr Moreau ... nah.

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Sunday, November 13, 2005

Eddie Guerrero, October 9, 1967 - November 13, 2005

One of my favourite professional wrestlers, "Latino Heat" Eddie Guerrero, has passed away. I'm in a little bit of shock this morning - in the same way I was when I found out Owen Hart had passed away.

From WWE.com:
WWE is deeply saddened by the news that Eddie Guerrero has passed away. He was found dead this morning in his hotel room in Minneapolis. Eddie is survived by his wife Vickie and daughters Kaylie Marie, Shaul and Sherilyn.
From TSN:
Wrestling superstar Eddie Guerrero has died.

Guerrero was found dead this morning in his hotel room in Minneapolis.

Guerrero made his wrestling debut in Mexico in 1987. He rose to prominence in WCW in the mid-90's where he had many good matches against Rey Mysterio and eventually formed the short lived LWO gimmick.

He left WCW along with Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn and Chris Benoit and the group joined the WWE as the Radicals in 2000.

Guerrero's WWE career highlight was when he won the WWE Championship from Brock Lesnar at No Way Out in 2004.

Eddie is survived by his wife Vickie and his two daughters.

More details to follow.
I'm sure there will be more information to come. Eddie was one of those wrestlers you just loved to watch - high energy, high workrate - He had some troubles in the past; I hope they had nothing to contribute in his death.

Update: Eddie's official website, Eddicts.com, has been updated. You can get past the opening page by visiting here.

You can also watch the WWE press conference with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and Eddie's nephew, wrestler Chavo Guerrero (who also wrestles in the WWE) here.

Update 2: A tribute video is making the rounds - R.I.P. Eddie.

Update 3: Online Onslaught has an excellent piece on Eddie Guerrero - have a look at it here. The piece also mentions something else that I long thought - on tonight's TV tapings there was speculation that Eddie Guerrero was set to win the World Heavyweight Championship, to take the place of the currently injured Batista.

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Saturday, November 12, 2005

What Would You Do?

Stageleft poses a very interesting scenario for discussion:
Your land/country has been invaded by a foreign entity with different customs, traditions, religion, and laws that they expect you to adapt to; they speak a different language, the majority have no interest in learning your language however they do expect you to learn theirs. They posess superior military capabilities and technology which they have shown they will turn against you in a number lethal manners that they consider legal if you do not adapt peacefully and quietly to the new way of living.
Head over there and have a look and add your thoughts to the debate.

Me? I thought I’d want to ensure that my family was safe, which may mean being forced to adapt. If I could be sure that they were safe, I’d probably physically resist for as long as was necessary to get rid of them.

I'd suppose, in this case, we don't know the conditions of my "pre-invasion" society, but I think I'd resist on the basis that some other nation was forcing their culture and beliefs on me.


Friday, November 11, 2005

Pat Robertson is High

Remember, over here, I told you how to talk like a wacko? And similarly, why Valentine's Day, is worse than Hallowe'en?

I forgot to include, that by "voting out God, you're doomed to eternal damnation."

See why I'm an atheist?

This stuff almost writes itself.

And, this is not a knock against religion - religion has an important role to play in an individual's life, but what am I supposed to do? Am I suppose to say, well, Pat Robertson - the crazy nut - says it, it must be true? Am I supposed to find some speck of truth in it? It makes no sense.

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An Honoured Son

He came this young Canadian,
From out the Golden West,
Full of courage and of faith,
Of ardor, hope, and zest.

A willing volunteer; he came -
And offered us his life -
His youth, his strength, his heart and soul
To fling into the strife.

The final sacrifice he made,
He lies in foreign earth -
Far from home, an exile
From the country of his birth.

And yet, amongst his kin he sleeps
In friendly company -
No stranger; but an Honoured Son
Of one great family.

- Anonymous

The Royal Canadian Legion

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An Honoured Son

He came this young Canadian,
From out the Golden West,
Full of courage and of faith,
Of ardor, hope, and zest.

A willing volunteer; he came -
And offered us his life -
His youth, his strength, his heart and soul
To fling into the strife.

The final sacrifice he made,
He lies in foreign earth -
Far from home, an exile
From the country of his birth.

And yet, amongst his kin he sleeps
In friendly company -
No stranger; but an Honoured Son
Of one great family.

- Anonymous

The Royal Canadian Legion

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Howard Stern Not Coming to Canada

Updated, February 1, 2006: Sirius Canada has indicated that they will carry Howard Stern starting February 6. See the item here.

I'm going to leave the rest of this post as is.

While I'm still in favour of satellite radio coming to Canada, I will not be subscribing. The only reason I wanted to was because I thought Howard Stern would be available in Canada [GlobeTechnology,
Viewing the future].
Howard Stern is not part of the Sirius Canada initial channel line-up at this time. He is not scheduled to begin broadcasting with Sirius in the U.S. until January, 2006. In the normal course of business, Sirius Canada will continuously review the channel line-up to ensure they are providing the best programming available on radio anywhere in Canada. Sirius Canada brings to listeners today an unrivaled radio experience: the broadest selection of commercial free music, sports, talk and entertainment.
Now, the popular theory is that the CRTC is blocking the move by Sirius Canada to put Howard on the lineup. In looking at the only transcript, they just talk about what would happen if CBC pulled out of the deal with Sirius should they get complaints about Howard. That would mean that the Sirius Canada license would be solely owned by an American company.

Two words: who cares?

Here's my thing. It's a for pay service. Somebody just can't stumble upon Howard if they don't want to. Somebody has to (a) buy an expensive radio receiver, (b) subscribe to a service that says "this carries Howard Stern", (c) pay $14/month for it, and (c) flip through a kabillion stations and then "stumble" upon Howard to be offended because he swears or, heaven forbid, talks about doody or a female body part. Is it vulgar? Yes. Is it crude? Yes.

I'm not listening because I'm looking to be enlightened. I'm looking to be entertained - it's entertaining to hear fart noises. I'm puerile that way. Plus, I have two fully functioning arms such that when something I hear on the radio or the TV offends me, I switch it off. I don't need an agency to tell me when I should be offended.

I mean, nobody stumbles upon Showcase on Friday nights at 12:30 pm and expects to see Mr. Dressup. Come on you morons. If the CBC gets complaints because somebody "accidentally" tripped over Howard Stern while surfing Sirius, they deserve to be branded a moron.

If they carry Howard, I will subscribe.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Bound by Gravity is shutting down, which is a shame.
This will be the last post to Bound by Gravity - I no longer have the time that it takes to provide the level of content required for this blog. The BBG archives will remain online, as will CanConv and the Unofficial Canadian Political Contributions Search Tool.

In a few weeks this main page will change - I'm not 100% sure what it will be replaced by, but I have some ideas. As I mentioned previously - the archives will remain online.

Thanks to all of the people who read this blog, and especially those who commented on it. I had a blast while I had the time to write for you.

Take care.
Andrew is a moderate conservative, much like myself and I looked forward to his posts. Blogging, especially about politics, can be mentally draining. I'm trying a new tact where I only post when the mood hits me, instead of trying to post every day. It might not attract the super huge viewership, but it'll help keep me sane. What little sanity I have left. :-)

Goodbye, Andrew. Hopefully you'll start posting again.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Keith Parkinson, October 22, 1958 - October 26, 2005

I'm a little late in posting this, but Keith Parkinson, fantasy artist, passed away Wednesday, October 26th, after a two year battle with leukemia.

If you've read fantasy books (like Terry Brooks or Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis) or played role-playing games (like D&D or Palladium), then you've probably seen his art.

In my opinion, Keith's art was one of the best in this genre - characters seemed life-like, monsters seemed monstrous - the worlds he created were astounding.

Here is the obituary from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America:
Dark Sword Miniatures reports that fantasy artist Keith Arlin Parkinson passed away Wednesday, October 26, 2005. He had been battling Leukemia for the previous 16 months.

A graduate of the Kendall School of Design in 1980, Keith worked 5 years for TSR prior to starting a freelance career. His covers appear on books from Terry Goodkind, Anne McCaffrey, Orson Scott Card, C.J. Cherryh, and many others. His many awards including back to back Chesley Awards for best hard cover jacket illustration in 1988 and 1989.

Keith moved on to game design with the introduction of Guardians in 1995.

Two books of Keith’s art have been published, as well as screen savers and art trading cards.

In recent years he produced art for the EverQuest online game by Sony and THQ's Summoner. He also painted an EverQuest piece that appeared on the cover of TV Guide.

Since 2002 Keith was Art Director with Sigil Games Online.
Links on Keith Parkinson:
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Monday, November 07, 2005

Remember the Pirate Attack on the Cruise Ship?

If this is true, this is so cool [Breitbart.com, Ship Blasted Pirates With Sonic Weapon].
The crew of a luxury cruise ship used a sonic weapon that blasts earsplitting noise in a directed beam while being attacked by a gang of pirates off Africa this weekend, the cruise line said Monday.

The Seabourn Spirit had a Long Range Acoustic Device, or LRAD, installed as a part of its defense systems, said Bruce Good, a spokesman for Miami-based Seabourn Cruise Line. The Spirit was about 100 miles off Somalia when pirates fired rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns as they tried to get onboard.
More [Wikipedia, Long range acoustic device]:
The equipment can emit sound in a 15 to 30° beam from a device 33 inches (838 mm) in diameter. At maximum volume, it can emit a warning tone that is 151 decibels (1000 W/m²) at 1 metre, a level that is very capable of permanently damaging hearing. At maximum volume, it can emit voice at a level of 120 dB at 1 metre. The design range extends 300 to 500 metres. At 300 metres, the warning tone is 105 dB.
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Best CD Ever

Quite possibly the best CD ever: Pat Boone, In a Metal Mood.

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CP vs SS: Rights of Fetuses

I don't follow Alberta politics and didn't really notice this proposed piece of legislation until I read it over at Capitalist Pig vs. Socialist Swine [Rights for fetuses]. I might have been one of the ones that shrugged:
While most people might shrug and say "who cares" when people bring up the proposed piece of legislation. I think that this is a big issue for anyone who has any concerns regarding the issue of abortion, stem cell research, or a variety of other issues involving whether fetuses should be considered as persons and as such are granted various rights.

The suggestion that people have a right to sue for injuries received in utero is a very small step away from suggesting that fetuses have rights. Saying that fetuses have particular rights is only a hairbreadth away from the pro-life and anti-stem cell research positions.
As I understand it, the legislation is going to allow a child who was injured while in utero to sue for damages if their parent was at fault in an accident.

But, wouldn't it naturally follow then that the child could then sue for any damage while in utero, without much of a stretch?

For instance, my wife is currently 6 months pregnant. Part of her daily ritual is to take Materna, a multi-vitamin specifically geared for pregnant women. Now, if she failed to take this vitamin (which includes folic acid, said to be key in preventing Down syndrome), would she be intentionally causing harm or accidentally causing harm? Could our child sue us for that? I wouldn't think so, but it wouldn't take a huge leap to get there with this piece of legislation.

Wouldn't it be better for government to provide better funding for the disabled, instead of creating legislation that opens the door for more lawsuits? I think governments ultimately have a responsibility to financially support those with disabilities and with the help of their family (not in an institution).

The legislation would also cap the benefit at the maximum amount of the policy. Suppose the parent has no insurance or very limited coverage? What then? Are the parents SOL?

And what about the issue of abortion?

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It's Killing Me

NDP leader Buzz Hargrove has asked his parliamentary assistant, Jack Layton, to not pull the plug on Parliament [The Globe and Mail, CAW chief urges Layton not to pull the plug]. Layton appears confused about what to do now. Maybe it's the cold medicine.

Everybody likes a little suspense, I suppose.

The real question is, how come every time Jack has to make a decision, Buzz has to be publically involved? Can't he advise Jack privately, or is there something to be gained for the NDP by being publically linked to the CAW? Or, vice versa?

Updated: Well, no sooner had I finished being berated, then we learn that Jack has indicated he will not support the Liberal Party's proposal for health care protection. That doesn't mean Jack is going to pull the plug, but it does mean the Liberal Party can no longer count on NDP support.

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Friday, November 04, 2005

Rex Murphy: Paul Martin = Mother Theresa

Sometimes, Rex has a way with words.

From Sell the Peace Tower to Wal-Mart?:

On Judge Gomery's understanding, Paul Martin was the lone saint in the brothel, the unoccupied first mate on an otherwise very busy pirate ship. It is a distinction of sorts but a distinction that doesn't really, when you think about it, have a lot to offer. His innocence, and I'm not questioning it in the slightest, about the goings-on in the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party during the years he was conducting an internal coup to take over the entire party has about it an almost miraculous obtuseness. For close to a decade, a stealth department operating out of the PMO was hurling millions upon millions of dollars to the partisan machinery in Quebec, his home province; and the Finance Minister, Head of the Treasury Board, was a lone Mother Theresa keeping her head down in the bordello.
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Scarborough-Rouge River By-Election

Remember, the by-election in Scarborough-Rouge River is November 24th - under 3 weeks away.

Cynthia Lai is your Progressive Conservative candidate, and a stellar candidate at that.

Dr. Raymond Cho, City Councillor Ward 42 - Scarborough-Rouge River:

Why do I strongly support Cynthia Lai? We need a new MPP from the Progressive Conservative Party…an excellent team player with an excellent Leader, Mr. John Tory, who has refused to make empty promises…Vote for Cynthia Lai in this by-election and send her to Queen’s Park.
David Soknacki, Councillor, Ward 43 - Scarborough East:

As budget chief for the City of Toronto, one of my highest priorities is making sure Toronto remains an affordable place to live. Cynthia Lai understands what it's like to raise a family in Toronto. As MPP for Scarborough-Rouge River, she will work hard to help families make ends meet.
In addition, Cynthia will be having her official campaign office opening this weekend.

On Saturday, November 5, the Cynthia Lai Campaign Office will officially open in the riding of Scarborough-Rouge River.

Volunteers are asked to help Cynthia kick off the event with a day of canvassing, beginning at 10:00 a.m., leaving plenty of time to join in the Grand Opening festivities, which will run from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Main Line: (416) 609-3127
Fax Line: (416) 609-3723
E-mail: Cynthia.Lai@ontariopc.com
Website: http://www.CynthiaLai.com/

Cynthia Lai Campaign Office
4 Invergordon Ave., Scarborough, ON M1S 2Y8

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Mastering the Game of Chess

You have to hand it to Jack Layton. He is by far, the most impressive chess master currently working in Ottawa. I never thought I'd like an NDP leader as much as Ed, and I don't - but Jack has got to be number 2.

The NDP poll at 15% - 18% consistently, but it's Jack Layton that everybody is waiting on at Parliament Hill.

The Liberal Party is forced into rooms to make deals with a party that cannot guarantee it's survival during a confidence vote. If you look at the math, the NDP + the Liberals is still under half.

The Conservative Party and the Bloc just stomp their feet, "We want an election, we want an election." I want one too, but I want one we can win, or failing that, let's get that transit tax rebate passed before an election.

But, there's Jack - attempting to negotiate a health care deal with the Liberal Party.

And Jack knows, either way, he wins. Either way, Jack Layton can come out like a rose.

Jack's going to let us know today what he thinks of the Liberal's response to his proposal to stop "creeping" privatized health care. All ears and eyes will be on his response.

If The Jack rejects it, it means the Liberal Party doesn't stand up for public health care (they don't, but this will just be proof). If The Jack accepts it, it means Jack Layton is once again the leader of the true governing party.

It's funny, isn't it? The guy with the smallest party wields the biggest stick. We got guys with 98 seats who don't wield near as much power.

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Divine Intervention?

Some people have hypothesized that the earthquake in Pakistan was caused by God targeting Pakistani immorality. Others have suggested that God hit New Orleans with Katrina because of the city's "depravity".

What did this dude do [
Electrocution of popular pastor seen as accidental, Houston Chronicle]?

The University Baptist Church band had just led the congregation in praise songs when the Rev. Kyle Lake stepped into a tank on the stage to baptize a new member, something he did several times a year.

But then the pastor cried, "Get me out!" and fell backward.

The packed room of more than 800 people, mostly Baylor University students and their families, weren't sure if he was serious. Several doctors in the Sunday morning crowd rushed to the stage, pulling Lake out and tending to him until an ambulance arrived.

Lake, 33, was pronounced dead at a hospital, the victim of electrocution. Some at the service said Lake had adjusted a microphone outside the tank, while others said it appeared that a piece of equipment fell into the water.
All condolences of course, but I think we need to stop blaming human depravity for natural occurrences. Otherwise, I can only assume that God hates depravity and organized religion.

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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A Gomery Summary - For My International Friends

I get quite a bit of traffic from the United States and the United Kingdom, thanks in part due to linkage from Progressive Conservative ReView & ReKnew (U.S.) and Progressive Conservatism (U.K.), and I bet half the traffic coming from those places are asking what's Gomery all about?

In summary, Canada has been embroiled in a political scandal affectionately referred to as "AdScam". In 1995, the province of Quebec held a referendum to secede from Canada. The "no" side (saying no to secession), won with almost the thinnest of possible margins. The federal government at the time, under Liberal Party leader and Prime Minister, Jean Chretien, created the "Sponsorship Program" - designed to contract ad space to the government of Canada (and Canada in general) to events and programs in Quebec. The theory being, that the program would reinforce Canada's image within the province of Quebec.

In February, of 2004, the Auditor General of Canada released a financial audit of the Sponsorship Program that included questionable spending. In short, some of her findings included that [source, CBC]:

  • Senior government officials running the federal government's advertising and sponsorship contracts in Quebec, as well as five Crown corporations – the RCMP, Via Rail, Canada Post, the Business Development Bank of Canada and the Old Port of Montreal – wasted money and showed disregard for rules, mishandling millions of dollars since 1995.
  • The government's $3-million sponsorship of the RCMP's 125th anniversary celebrations was wasteful, because the Mounties were already required to display the "Canada" word mark. Three ad agencies – Lafleur, Media/I.D.A. Vision and Gosselin – deducted $1.3 million of the money before passing the remaining $1.7 million to the Mounties. Some bank records of Quebec Mounties were destroyed.
  • In the $5-million sponsorship of a television series about Maurice Richard, to be produced by the private firm L'information essentielle, communication firms, including Lafleur, Media/I.D.A. Vision, Gosselin and Groupaction, received $440,000 in commissions without signing any contracts or doing any work. The program also used Via Rail as a conduit to transfer nearly $1 million to the television series through a "fictitious contract," reimbursing the Crown corporation for all but $160,000 of the money. Lafleur received $112,500 to handle the transfer. In addition, Canada Post paid $1.6 million to sponsor the series without any deal being signed or any documentation whatsoever, breaking the corporation's own rules.

Among other issues.

The fallout of these revelations led to our current minority government situation in our national parliament, where the ruling Liberal Party of Canada only managed to win 133 of the 308 seats in our 2004 summer general election. The Liberals had held straight majorities since sweeping the Conservatives from power in 1993.

As a result of the audit and the minority situation, Prime Minister Paul Martin called for an inquiry into this scandal. Today, Justice John Gomery reported his initial findings that pointed out what happened and who was to blame. The summaries are available here from the CBC:

The two biggest findings, politically speaking, is that the Gomery Report does place blame with former Prime Minister Jean Chretien:

"He chose to disregard this advice [from the Clerk of the Privy Council] and, since he is directly responsible for errors committed by Mr. Pelletier, he must share the blame for the mismanagement that ensued."

And exonerates current Prime Minister Paul Martin (Minister of Finance during the timeline of the scandal):

"Mr. Martin, whose role as finance minister did not involve him in the supervision of spending by the PMO or (Public Works) is entitled, like other ministers in the Quebec caucus, to be exonerated from any blame for carelessness or misconduct."

Going forward, politically, Mr. Martin has promised an election within 30 days of the publishing of Mr. Gomery's final report (due in February). As well, Mr. Martin had promised to resign if he was directly implicated - since he was not, he will not.

So, the big question now is, will Canadians associate the Sponsorship Scandal with the Liberal Party in general and deal it another blow in the next election, or will they leave the blame with former Prime Minister Jean Chretien and his government. Prime Minister Paul Martin's record has been, ho hum at best.

In most speculation, the governing Liberal Party will be returned in a minority situation, both due to residual anger because of AdScam and the ineffectiveness of Paul Martin as PM in general. A second minority government will be politically bad for Mr. Martin, who would most likely step down and lead to a new leadership race.

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