Friday, September 30, 2005

Smoke 'em if You Got 'Em

From Bloomberg:
Canada's marijuana dealers are converting suburban homes and abandoned warehouses into pot farms, creating a C$10 billion ($8.5 billion) market that's three times the size of the nation's biggest legal crop, wheat.
What does this all mean?

I forgot ... who's hogging the Dor-eee-tos?

Tags: ,

What Kind of Elitist Are You?

Hat tip to Socialist Swine for my continuing addiction to blog quizzes.

HASH(0x8d48cd0)
You speak eloquently and have seemingly read every book ever published. You are a fountain of endless (sometimes useless) knowledge, and never fail to impress at a party. What people love: You can answer almost any question people ask, and have thus been nicknamed Jeeves. What people hate: You constantly correct their grammar and insult their paperbacks.

What Kind of Elitist Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tags: ,

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Gas Price Gouging Report

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has put forth a report available here [PDF] indicating that gasoline companies are indeed gouging us.

My first reaction was, "Well, duh." But, they do put some math around it.

Their calculation goes as follows:

What should the price be? What would it be if we weren’t being gouged by the oil industry? Let’s figure it out. Crude oil at $68 (U.S.) a barrel translates to 50 cents per litre (Cdn) at the pump. Normal refining and marketing margins add 14 cents per litre. Provincial taxes (Ontario) add 14.7 cents. The federal gasoline tax adds 10 cents per litre, for a total of 88.7 cents per litre. Add 6.3 cents for the GST, and that gives us 95 cents — which is what we should be paying.
What the policy paper then indicates that it isn't taxes that are keeping the price of gas up.

Agreed, to a point.

The 24.7 cents that are flat taxes from Ontario and Ottawa aren't contributing to the high price (they contribute to a higher price, but an effect that diminishes as the cost of gas goes up).

Now, if you're the oil industry, as the paper suggests, you're bumping up the production of that oil for no reason - the problem then becomes we pay that wonderful 7% GST on top of the gouging. So, entirely claiming that taxes aren't contributing are somewhat false.

Gas in my neighbourhood is $1.15 per litre. That means the federal government collects in GST 7.5 cents a litre; 1.2 more than it "should". If the gas jumps to $1.30/L, the GST collected is 8.5 cents a litre; 2.2 more than it "should".

So, let's call a spade a spade.

  • The oil industry is gouging us.
  • The government gets increased GST revenue from that gouging. Especially when consumers have no choice but to pay for the gouge-priced product.
  • The flat taxes don't actually amount to much in the grand scheme of things.
  • Somebody is going to argue for keeping the GST.
  • Somebody is going to argue for punishing the gas companies.
  • Somebody is going to set up an ineffectual agency to monitor gas gouging, but won't find anything wrong.

Quick relief could come by a reduction in the GST, I suppose, but then if people are used to paying $1.15/litre, the gas companies would still likely charge $1.15/litre. It would come at the cost of reducing the tax revenue, but increasing gas company profits.

The government could come in and force a 2-3 cent reduction in the price of gas. How that would work, I don't know.

I can buy the argument that increased gas prices will discourage unnecessary driving, but it also indiscriminately impacts the tractors, the combines, the pizza delivery guys, the taxi drivers and everybody who needs a car or gas-powered engine to function. Those businesses that should see increased revenue as people leave their cars at home, are going to pass their own gas consumption cost onto those consumers.

I have a feeling that the ominous warning in the report is going to come true.

Of course, no one is going to do anything about this. Just as no one is going to do anything about the fact that the industry is making billions from increases in crude oil prices that have nothing to do with its costs of production. Just as no one is going to do anything about the fact that every time the price goes up, the industry makes another windfall profit from their inventories of gasoline and heating oil.

Meh.

Tags: , , ,

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Which Big Lebowski Character Are You?

Hat tip to Practical Pragmatism.

According to the "Which Big Lebowski character are you?" quiz:



Why don't you check it out? Or we cut off your Johnson!

Tags: ,

Packed House for Emergency Gas Price Debate!

I was over reading James Moore's blog (he's the Conservative MP for Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam) and he describes his feelings that occurred during Monday's "emergency debate on gas prices".

Posted on September 26:
Finally, the third step in the right direction is the decision by Parliament to have an emergency debate tonight on the issue of high gas prices. The debate was initiated by Conservative MP Randy White, and I think it is incumbent on Parliament to tackle this issue with seriousness, and tonight's debate will, hopefully, serve that end.
Posted on September 27:
As the Official Opposition Transport Critic and a Member of Parliament who has received an avalanche of emails, phone calls, and more than a few conspiracy theories from constituents on the yo-yo nature of gas prices lately, I was more than willing to participate in this 'debate'. However, as I proudly strode into the House at 10:50pm last night to give my state of the 'emergency' speech I saw just how much of an 'emergency' we were dealing with. With 5 MPs out of 308 in their seats (for the uninitiated, that means there were more pages in the Chamber than MPs) I first felt rather lonely, and then came the slight guilt I feel this AM.
Looking at Hansard, it looks like there were 9 MPs in the House (at least that spoke) between 22:45 and midnight, but I don't know who got up and sat down so Mr. Moore's point remains valid.

Is there no concept of quorum in the House of Commons? What's the point of having these heartfelt debates between 9 people? Is something actually accomplished, or does this go into somebody's talking points the next day? I'm not even playing partisan as it looks like there were three-and-a-half times as many black hats as white hats - it was 4 Liberals, 3 BQists, and 2 Good Guys (not including the Liberal speaker).

As soon as the House is under 155 members, it should adjourn. It should be duly noted who did and did not show up.

So, here's a proposal for democratic reform. Institute quorum. No debates are to take place unless at least 155 Members of Parliament are in the House. There is no requirement that Leaders, or a majority of a particular party are present - but no debate can take place unless 50% + 1 members are in attendance.

These 9 people spent $375,000* ($41,667 / member). If there had have been 155 they would have spent $375,000* ($2,419 / member).

What would have been even better is if they had actually achieved some kind of resolution.

* Based on the $75,000 / 15 minutes rate to make up the House's operating budget.

Tags: , , ,

All Star Big Brother - Contestant #2 Pick

As promised, I will be making my selections for who I think should be in a Big Brother "All Star" show. Here is my second pick.

Will Kirby - Big Brother 2 (Winner)

From IMDB.com:

Born in Florence, Italy, Dr. Will Kirby has a degree in Biology from Emory University, which he received in 1995. He graduated with a medical degree from Nova Southeastern University in 2000 and did his first year of postgraduate training in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center & Miami Heart Institute in Miami Beach, Florida in 2001. His Dermatology residency training took place in association with Pacific Hospital and Western University. After winning CBS's Big Brother 2, Will went on to host NBC's Love Shack and serve as a medical correspondent for eXTRA! A licensed physician in California since 2002, Dr. Kirby's medical practice is limited to Dermatology with an emphasis on laser tattoo removal, cutaneous oncology, and facial cosmetic procedures. His close friendship with Mike "Boogie' Malin has afforded him interests in some of LA's hottest restaurants including Dolce, Geisha House, Big Wang's, Bella, and The Lodge. In his free time he enjoys surfing, basketball and reading. A physician, TV host, and producer, Will Kirby presently makes his home in Playa Vista, California.

Why Dr. Will?

Dr. Will was the ultimate weasel. After losing his alliance partners Mike and Shannon, and being threatened with eviction for the remaining stay in the Big Brother House, Dr. Will hung on and won. All the while, lying to everybody's faces - reminding them that as long as he has no alliance, he's no threat. The best reality-elimination show strategy.

Previous picks:

Tags: , , ,

Today's Word of the Day - Abseil

ab·seil
intr.v. ab·seiled, ab·seil·ing, ab·seiled
-- to rappel.

I got a BBC breaking news alert that said:

French special forces in the Corsican port of Bastia abseiling from helicopters have recaptured a cargo ship seized by striking workers.
Why didn't they just say rappelling?

Tags: ,

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

FactCheck: Anti-war Ad Says Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld & Rice "Lied" About Iraq

I am addicted to FactCheck.

Their latest article takes aim at an attack ad showing up in American newspapers regarding the U.S. involvement with Iraq. The ad takes the form of showcasing some of the more (in)famous quotes attributed to George Bush and company, then directly accusing them of lying - "They Lied". They end the ad showing some of the names of the soldiers killed in the line of duty - "They Died". This piece reviews the full quotes made in the ad, their context, and asks you to judge for yourself.

The summary:
An anti-war coalition of mostly liberal groups ran a newspaper ad quoting six alleged lies about Iraq by President Bush and others.

But, like movie blurbs, the quotes sometimes look different when read in full context.

And while much of what the ad calls lies was indeed wrong, there's evidence that the President and his advisers believed the falsehoods at the time.
Who are those "liberal groups"? The ad was placed by "Win Without War", a coalition of groups that are listed here.

As an example, the ad points to a quote attributed to President Bush indicating that he said that Saddam Hussein had ties to Al-Qaeda:
"There's no question Saddam Hussein had al-Qaeda ties."
FactCheck's analysis goes as follows:
[T]he full quote shows Bush ... made clear that he was not claiming that Saddam had any connection to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In fact, he was knocking down a suggestion made four days earlier by Vice President Cheney, who said on NBC's Meet The Press that it is "not surprising that people make that connection" when asked why so many Americans believed Saddam was involved in the attacks.

Bush, Sept. 17, 2003: We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11th . What the Vice President said was, is that he has been involved with al Qaeda. And al Sarawak, al Qaeda operative, was in Baghdad. He's the guy that ordered the killing of a U.S. diplomat. He's a man who is still running loose, involved with the poisons network, involved with Ansar al-Islam. There's no question that Saddam Hussein had al Qaeda ties.

Since the word "ties" can cover any connection, however weak, Bush was in fact stating the truth. The bipartisan 9/11 Commission later cited reports of several "friendly contacts" between Saddam and Osama bin Laden over the years, and cited one report that in 1999 Iraqi officials offered bin Laden a "safe haven," which bin Laden refused, preferring to remain in Afghanistan.
Again, it's an interesting read, no matter what side of the George Bush fence you are on. I'm also not trying to portray the war in Iraq as justified - certainly not - but it does bring some issues into focus.

Ultimately, it's for you to decide.

Tags: , , , ,

Monday, September 26, 2005

Don Adams, April 13, 1923 - September 25, 2005

Don Adams, best known as Maxwell Smart, Agent 86, from Get Smart and the voice of Inspector Gadget, has passed away at the age of 82.

From Reuters ['Get Smart' TV series star Don Adams dies]:
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor and comedian Don Adams, best known for his role as the bumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart on the television espionage spoof "Get Smart," has died of a lung infection, his agent said on Monday.

Adams, who had been in failing health in recent years, died at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Sunday night, according to agent Bruce Tufeld. Reference books gave different ages for Adams, ranging from the late 70s to early 80s.

A native New Yorker, Adams began his career as a stand-up comic and impressionist, gaining notice in 1954 as a winner on the "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts" show, which led to his appearance on various variety series.

But his big break came in 1965 with the NBC comedy "Get Smart," a spoof of the James Bond spy genre in which he starred as the buttoned-down but inept Maxwell Smart, otherwise known as Agent 86 in the government intelligence organization known as C.O.N.T.R.O.L.

The Maxwell Smart persona grew out of a clueless hotel detective character he had developed in variety show sketches. Smart was known for the catchphrase "Would you believe...?"

"Get Smart" ran on NBC until 1969, then moved to CBS for another year before it was revived 25 years later on Fox.
Tags: , , , ,

PHREAK Plate Missing - Blogging for Justice

Vox Noxi is looking for help in finding her friend's license plate. I just had to take part because the license plate is so cool.

STOLEN! One custom Alberta licence plate: PHREAK. The plate was stolen from the back of a car on the night of Saturday September 24. The car was parked on 13th Street at Cameron Ave SW, just one block south of 17th Ave.

The plate was a birthday gift, and stealing it is pretty damn low.

There is a reward for information leading to the return of this plate. If you took it and you regret it now that you’ve sobered up, give it back. No questions asked.

Contact the owner at (403) 282-0625 or fyrephreak@hotmail.com. Ask for Mark.
I know I have some Alberta readers, so get out there.

Tags: , ,

Reforming the Governor General's Office

It's funny sometimes how relevant I am. No sooner did I post how happy I am to have heard that Michaëlle Jean had renounced her citizenship than I found that CTV reports that a "small knot of demonstrators" will be showing up to protest the office of the Governor General, regardless of who is appointed:

Questions are being raised about the Governor General - not Adrienne Clarkson's spendthrift ways or Michaelle Jean's separatist sentiments, but whether Canadians should continue to put up with an appointed head of state.

When Jean becomes the 27th Governor General in a pomp-filled ceremony Tuesday on Parliament Hill, a small knot of demonstrators plan show up calling for an end to what they see as an undemocratic vestige of the colonial past.
More specifically, the problem that is pointed out here:

[O]thers will be reminded that in the 21st century, a prime minister who speaks of the need to rejuvenate and democratize public life still hand-picks the only individual with the constitutional power to fire him.
That's a good point and one worth exploring.

Right now, the general feeling is that the role of Governor General is largely ceremonial - she's more figure-head than head. No one expects the GG to represent Canada at the United Nations, in NATO, at trade talks, or any other formal governmental procedure. The GG is there to bring ceremony to Parliament, to assent to legislation to make it "official", and to represent Canada as royalty around the world - shaking hands and welcoming dignitaries.

She's not supposed to do anything, except on the advice of the Prime Minister.

At the heart of this minor controversy is the fact that the GG does have real constitutional powers, including the power to appoint the governing party and thereby the Prime Minister in times of minority parliaments. In addition, a law does not become a law until the GG gives assent. The GG also has the authority to deny the dissolution of parliament. The only thing really preventing the GG from doing so is "convention and precedent" and the fear of public outrage.

My thoughts?

Who cares.

If the Governor General tried to pull a stunt that attempted to undermine or diminish the role of the elected House of Commons, there'd be a revolt; that's if the House of Commons were ridiculous enough to abide by the decision.

If the GG, for instance, were to dissolve parliament and appoint Gilles Duceppe Prime Minister, how long would that last? About 2 seconds.

A lot of talk was devoted to the possibility of Governor General Adrienne Clarkson appointing Stephen Harper Prime Minister should the Liberal Party fail in a confidence motion. She'd still would have done it on the advice of Paul Martin and Stephen Harper and not at some whim.

I think I like the Governor General's office as is, so long as the office has no role in directly affecting the lives of Canadians. Again, maybe cut the operating budget a bit - but that's all.

Tags: , , ,

Michaëlle Jean No Longer French

Probably the more troubling part of Michaëlle Jean's controversial appointment as Governor General was her French citizenship. Prior to her coming swearing in ceremony, she renounced it [CBC News, New governor general to give up French citizenship]:

"In light of the responsibilities related to the function of Governor General of Canada and Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces, I have decided to renounce the French citizenship that I acquired for family reasons in 2004.

"France acceded to my request by decree on September 23, 2005."
Once again, I'm satisfied.

I'm probably one of the few that likes the post of Governor General. I like the idea that we have a royal tie, albeit in ceremony only, to the Queen and the United Kingdom. The office could probably have a smaller budget, sure, but it's nice to have Canadian "royalty".

Tags: ,

Which Colossal Death Robot Are You?

Hat tip to daveberta.

Scowling wilfully towards Autobot City, you're Megatron!

Look in a mirror and feel the evil. Then eat the mirror. You eat mirrors for breakfast. You are a badass death robot. You busted on Optimus Prime. You. Are. Megatron. Go outside and burn some animals, because you're worth it.

Declare your pre-Galvatron-ness with the following non-heat-sensitive emblem:

Megatron!
Which Colossal Death Robot Are You?
Brought to you by Rum and Monkey


Tags: ,

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Out of Curiousity - Party Affiliations

When you hear stories of a provincial politician "switching" parties and running federally, what is your initial impression?

When you read a story like this [Globe & Mail, Tory MLA in Manitoba seeks to join federal Liberals]:
A Conservative member of the Manitoba legislature will change political parties in a bid to run against Tory health critic Stephen Fletcher in the next federal election.

John Loewen, the MLA for Fort Whyte, announced yesterday that he would seek the Liberal nomination in the riding of Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia.
Or this oldy, [CTV, Former NDP premier appointed as Liberal in B.C.]:
Prime Minister Paul Martin named three Liberal star candidates in B.C. for an upcoming federal election, including former NDP premier Ujjal Dosanjh.
Is your natural reaction that the provincial party member run for the same party federally? Now, John Loewen's reason for not running as a Conservative in the next federal election is known, and Mr. Dosanjh's was ... I don't know ... that's unimportant.

Now, it's known that provincial parties often differ from their federal counterparts in a lot of ways. Maritime Conservative parties tend to be very centrist, Ontario Conservatives the same (sans Common Sense Revolution). Liberals in BC tend to be right of centre, and Liberals in Alberta tend to be invisible [ ;-) ]. The Yukon Party is the renamed Progressive Conservative Party and the Saskatchewan Party came about from the merger of the Saskatchewan Liberal and Progressive Conservative Parties (how do you suppose that meet-and-greet went?).

How many people out there are members of different parties federally versus provinically?

I seem to recall that at one time, for instance, it was common for people to be members of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, but a member of the federal Liberal Party. I am also of the opinion (and correct me if I'm wrong), that membership in the federal NDP requires membership in the provincial NDP. In that latter case, is their an example of a provincial NDP that differs in "focus" than the federal party? How do you reconcile it if it does?

Even if you're not a member of different parties, I'd still be interested in hearing your thoughts.

Tags: , , , ,

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Pardon the Dust

I'm trying on a new Blogger template, because I got bored of the other one.

I'm not too enamoured with the comment thing.

You know what? I don't like the new one.

Putting the old one back.

Updated. I kind of like this new one. I'm going to keep this one for the next while, until I likely get bored of it :). Um, I realized that when I was on the old template that I was setting the font to "small, verdana", which is the normal font for this template. I'm going to be working through my past posts to clean that up, because it has the effect of making the font seem really small.

Friday, September 23, 2005

All Star Big Brother - Contestant #1 Pick

As promised, I will be making my selections for who I think should be in a Big Brother "All Star" show. Right now, I select my first pick.

Jean Jordan - Big Brother 1

From Salon.com:
Jordan -- real name Jean Jordan -- worked as an exotic dancer at a Minneapolis men's club before her four-week stay in the "Big Brother" house. She's also a triathlete and no one's fool. Inside the house, she was a master provocateur, and scandalized the other hamsters with her alliance with Mega and her rascally involvement in the love triangle with Brittany and Josh.
The ultimate question would be whether or not Jordan would want to compete again as interviews have her saying she thought the show was boring. Granted, Season 1 was horrible. It only improved with Season 2 when they got rid of audience voting - people were voting out the more interesting people.

Why Jordan?

Well, she was s*** disturber. She wasn't afraid to meddle and stir things up a bit. She was entertaining in her 29 day stay - back in the days of one eviction for every 2 weeks. I'm not sure how she'd play it now - she's writing a book about her past occupation.

In short, great TV.


Tags: , , ,

Ok, All the Cool Kids Are Doing this Quiz Too ...

Cross posted from James Calder.

Hat tip to
Nunc Scio.

Genghis Khan
You scored 66 Wisdom, 87 Tactics, 61 Guts, and 44 Ruthlessness!
Genghis Khan was a Mongol conqueror, originally named Temujin. He succeeded his father, Yekusai, as chieftain of a Mongol tribe and then fought to become ruler of a Mongol confederacy. After subjugating many tribes of Mongolia and establishing his capital at Karakorum, Temujin held a great meeting, the khuriltai, at which he accepted leadership of the Mongols and assumed his title. He promulgated a code of conduct and reorganized his armies. He attacked the Jurchen-ruled Chin empire of North China and by 1215 had occupied most of its territory, including the capital, Yenching (now Beijing). From 1218 to 1224 he conquered Turkistan, Transoxania, and Afghanistan and raided Persia and East Europe to the Dnieper River. Genghis Khan ruled one of the greatest land empires the world has ever known. He died while campaigning against the Jurchen, and his vast domains were divided among his sons and grandsons. His wars were marked by ruthless carnage, but Genghis Khan was a brilliant ruler and military leader. Timur was said to be descended from him. Other leaders like yourself include Julius Caesar and Tecumseh Sherman

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:




You scored higher than 59% on Wisdom





You scored higher than 94% on Tactics





You scored higher than 73% on Guts





You scored higher than 26% on Ruthlessness
Link: The Which Historic General Are You Test written by dasnyds on Ok Cupid

Tags: ,

Which Historic General Are You?

Hat tip to Nunc Scio.

Genghis Khan
You scored 66 Wisdom, 87 Tactics, 61 Guts, and 44 Ruthlessness!
Genghis Khan was a Mongol conqueror, originally named Temujin. He succeeded his father, Yekusai, as chieftain of a Mongol tribe and then fought to become ruler of a Mongol confederacy. After subjugating many tribes of Mongolia and establishing his capital at Karakorum, Temujin held a great meeting, the khuriltai, at which he accepted leadership of the Mongols and assumed his title. He promulgated a code of conduct and reorganized his armies. He attacked the Jurchen-ruled Chin empire of North China and by 1215 had occupied most of its territory, including the capital, Yenching (now Beijing). From 1218 to 1224 he conquered Turkistan, Transoxania, and Afghanistan and raided Persia and East Europe to the Dnieper River. Genghis Khan ruled one of the greatest land empires the world has ever known. He died while campaigning against the Jurchen, and his vast domains were divided among his sons and grandsons. His wars were marked by ruthless carnage, but Genghis Khan was a brilliant ruler and military leader. Timur was said to be descended from him. Other leaders like yourself include Julius Caesar and Tecumseh Sherman

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:



free online dating
You scored higher than 59% on Wisdom



You scored higher than 94% on Tactics



You scored higher than 73% on Guts



You scored higher than 26% on Ruthlessness
Link: The Which Historic General Are You Test written by dasnyds on Ok Cupid

Tags: ,

Thursday, September 22, 2005

All Star Big Brother?

Reality Blurred has a snippet of an interview with Kaysar Ridha that indicates that maybe an "All Star Big Brother" is in the works:
An upcoming season of Big Brother may be the long-rumored all-star season. In a chat with Joker’s, Kaysar says that he’s been approached about doing the show.

Without the assistance of spell-check, Kaysar wrote, "someone very high of the corperate ladder at CBS has asked me already" about participating in an all-star season. And in response to a follow-up question, he said "It sure sounds like there will be a BB Allstar cast. I think it will be soon."
Mmm ... an All Star Big Brother.

I think I'll take a stab at fantasy booking for reality TV. Look for some posts over the next while about who I would pick to be on an All Star Big Brother.

Tags: , ,

Apparently, I'm a Closet Dipper

I felt inclined to take this ridiculous Conservative/Liberal test again and publish the results. Seriously, what does supporting the Iraq war have anything to do with being a conservative or a liberal? You mean, it's impossible to be conservative and not support the war in Iraq?


Your Political Profile



Overall: 40% Conservative, 60% Liberal

Social Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Ethics: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal




Tags:
,

The Apprentice - Meh

As much of a reality TV junkie as I am, I will not be endorsing any Apprentice contestants (either Martha Stewart or Donald Trump) this season because I've decided I don't care about The Apprentice. I tried to give Martha a chance last night, but the show kind of falls into that predictable Apprentice mold.

Last year, I gave up on Donald mid-way through.

So, enjoy the Apprentice.


Tags: , , ,

One-Liners

Funny one-liners I got via email. I have no idea where they originate. Leave me a comment if you know where they're from.



I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes.

Gardening Rule: When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.

The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.

There are two kinds of pedestrians -- the quick and the dead.

Life is sexually transmitted.

An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.

If quitters never win, and winners never quit, then who is the fool, who said, "Quit while you're ahead?"

Always get the last word in: Apologize.

Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks.

Some people are like Slinkies . . . not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs.

All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

Why does a slight tax increase cost you two hundred dollars and a substantial tax cut saves you thirty cents?

In the 60's, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.

How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?

You read about all these terrorists --- most of them came here legally, but they hung around on these expired visas, some for as long as 10 -15 years. Now, compare that to Blockbuster; you are two days late with a video and those people are all over you. Let's put Blockbuster in charge of immigration.


Tags:

Age of Consent Debate

Here's something interesting [Globe & Mail, MPs face question of sexual consent]:
Members of Parliament will face a contentious decision when they return to the House of Commons next week to vote on whether to raise the age of consensual sex between adults and youth to 16 from 14.

Although the Liberals, Bloc Québécois and NDP are all on record as opposing the Conservative motion, Tory justice critic Vic Toews said he hopes several MPs will break ranks with party lines.
I guess the argument by the other guys goes that the existing law banning exploitation (defined as breaching trust, involving prostitution, or involving pornography) is strong enough to protect minors from unwanted attention. In addition, they want to ensure that teens who are sexually active in and around the same age group, aren't subjected to being branded a criminal.

I have no problem raising the age of consent. I cannot fathom why an adult of any age would consider entering a "consensual" relationship with a 14-year old. That being said, I'm also not so naive enough that raising the age of consent is somehow going to eliminate the teenaged "love" going on.

What about a rolling age of consent, which I thought was the law at some point.
  • The age of consent remains 14.
  • The maximum age of the older partner is the younger partner's age plus 4 years. So, maximum pairings would be 18/14, 19/15, 20/16, 21/17, and if the older partner is 22 or over, check that driver's license.

This removes concerns that kids in the same age group aren't being charged with statutory rape, needlessly, but at the same time says that if you're over a certain age - smarten up.

That being said:

Even if, as expected, the Tories lose the vote next Wednesday, Mr. Toews said his party will keep the issue alive in any coming federal election campaign.

I'd be interested in hearing the other side on this issue.

Is it really an issue to drive an election on? Are the laws against exploitation strong enough?

Updated: Interesting points over at Craig Cantin's site, regarding this very issue [Craig Cantin, Raising the Age of Consent - Green Party Position]. Let me say again, I don't want youth justice cases being filled up with 17 year old boys getting arrested for making out with a 15 year old girl. If the motion is just to make the age of consent 16, then count me AGAINST it.

Tags: , ,

I'll Let Others Do My Writing Today, Revisited

Hey, I haven't played this card in awhile. I'm thinking of re-working the site, just for something to do.



I don't normally agree with Robert, but his post on
why we don't gang up on the Bloc got me thinking. Head over and chime in. No swearing allowed.



Rita is getting closer to the Texas coast. I hope everybody has learned from Katrina.



Another plane mishap?



Check out
buzztracker. From the about page:
Buzztracker is software that visualizes frequencies and relationships between locations in the Google world news directory.

Buzztracker tries to show you how interconnected the world is: big events in one area ripple to other areas across the globe. Connections between cities thousands of miles apart become apparent at a glance.
What I didn't notice is that you can add the buzztracker map to a website.

Tags:

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Move Along ... Move Along

I wonder ...


"There is no sponsorship scandal. We're not the crooks your looking for."
- Obi Paul Martin


That's how they do it.

Tags:
,

Canadian Justice in Action

Okay, so Hollinger International insider David Radler has plead guilty to fraud charges, [Canadian Press, Hollinger International insider Radler pleads guilty to fraud in U.S. court].
Radler, the 63-year-old former publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times and chief operating officer of Hollinger International, was accused of participating in a scheme to divert more than $32 million US from the newspaper holding company.
Okay. So by my math, with the Canadian dollar at about 85 cents, he diverted about CDN $37.6 million dollars.

Ergo, that should mean he has to
perform 25 lecture tours talking about ethics in business, and report in by 9 pm on weekdays, over the next couple of years or so.

That'd show him.

I love the smell of justice in the morning.


I'm fully aware that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, and this piece is likely the lowest form of sarcasm. Martha Stewart even did time - Club Fed, sure - but she did time.

Tags:
, , ,

Monday, September 19, 2005

Jennifer Teague: Update

As reported over at Bound by Gravity, 580 CFRA in Ottawa has reported that the remains found of a woman "off Kiln Trail on Moodie Drive, is that of missing 18-year-old Jennifer Teague". Report can be found here. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Jennifer.

I've updated my original post.

Tags: , ,

Best.Customer.Service.Ever

Went to a Chinese place for lunch in a food court.

Lady in front of me goes bananas because the server was, apparently rude to her.

My turn and I try to order, "I'd like ...", server takes jab at customer.

My turn and I try to order again, "I'd like ...", customer takes jab at server.

My turn and I try to order again, "I'd ...", server mumbles with other server.

Original server goes to the next person.

I go, "I'd like the Singapore noodles and honey chicken."

Guy behind me orders, "I'd like the Singapore noodles and the lemon chicken."

Angry server asks for "Singapore noodles, lemon chicken."

I go, "Honey chicken."

Mumble server says "What?"

"Lemon chicken!", angry server responds.

So, she proceeds to make two Singapore noodles and lemon chicken.

She tries to pass it to me, and I said, "No, I wanted honey chicken."

She tries to pass it to somebody else, meanwhile, I'm ignored.


"That's probably mine," I interject, "but I wanted the honey chicken".

So, she proceeds to scrape the lemon chicken out, leaving the lemon sauce and a big wedge of lemon stuck in there, and starts heaping in the honey chicken. "Uh," I said, "can I get a new one? I don't really want the lemon sauce."

So, she starts scraping up the noodles taking the lemon sauce with them.

"Ah, forget it." I left and got a sub.

The end. I don't even know how entertaining this is. It sure was painful.


Tags: , ,

Sunday, September 18, 2005

My Nerd Score

I am nerdier than 51% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Tags: , ,

Human Virus Scanner

Cross-posted from The Progressive Right.

I took the Human Virus Scanner to determine what I might be infected with.
Viruses you suffer from:

Junkfood
Eat some real food. Something which you can identify the source of every ingredient, not the point of manufacture.

Sci-fi
Stop wearing the stick-on ears.

Politics
Stop caring!

Conspiracy Theory
Face it, the elected government is in control. Actually that's quite scary.

Viruses you might suffer from:

Linux (80%)
Install the latest version of Microsoft Windows. Learn to love it.

USA (80%)
Rule, Britannia! Britannia rule the waves! [repeat]

Gaming (70%)
Life is not a game. Roll 3D6. On a 4 or more go out and do something with your life.

British (65%)
No need for cure. Benign virus.

Religion (60%)
Read "God's Debris" by Scott Adams (yes, the Dilbert guy)

Brand Names (90%)
Having a well-known name doesn't make it good.

Computer Games (90%)
Stop staring at the screen and get some fresh air. You should see a doctor about the RSI in your thumbs.

Environmentalism (73%)
Consume more stuff! It's easier to buy new stuff than to recycle.
Tags: ,

Human Virus Scanner

I took the Human Virus Scanner to determine what I might be infected with.
Viruses you suffer from:

Junkfood
Eat some real food. Something which you can identify the source of every ingredient, not the point of manufacture.

Sci-fi
Stop wearing the stick-on ears.

Politics
Stop caring!

Conspiracy Theory
Face it, the elected government is in control. Actually that's quite scary.

Viruses you might suffer from:

Linux (80%)
Install the latest version of Microsoft Windows. Learn to love it.

USA (80%)
Rule, Britannia! Britannia rule the waves! [repeat]

Gaming (70%)
Life is not a game. Roll 3D6. On a 4 or more go out and do something with your life.

British (65%)
No need for cure. Benign virus.

Religion (60%)
Read "God's Debris" by Scott Adams (yes, the Dilbert guy)

Brand Names (90%)
Having a well-known name doesn't make it good.

Computer Games (90%)
Stop staring at the screen and get some fresh air. You should see a doctor about the RSI in your thumbs.

Environmentalism (73%)
Consume more stuff! It's easier to buy new stuff than to recycle.
Tags: ,

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Not Pr0n

I didn't really need to find this.

Not Pr0n

It's a internet-based puzzle, that involves no pointing-and-clicking. You go to each page and try to figure out the answer to that page's puzzle to get you to the next page. Each page contains some kind of hint or clue as to what you have to do to move forward. It may require a Google search, or something.

Anyway, I'm on Level 8 now and it's addictive.

Tags: ,

Friday, September 16, 2005

Aw, Hell

Okay, from now on, I'm not endorsing any winners of any reality TV show I'm currently addicted to. As you probably know, Janelle was evicted from the Big Brother house tonight (although the CBS website says the head of household competition is still going on).

And, an update to a couple of previous posts. Apparently, I spelled Suzie Rawn's name wrong. There's no "e" in Suzie. So, I've corrected that as well. I've also posted a picture of Suzie, since posting a picture of Janelle would simply be gratuitous.

My apologies to Suzie.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Katrina: What Happened When

FactCheck has a timeline of the events in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The full report can be found here.

The summary is as follows:
Multiple investigations are likely into the response by federal, state, and local officials to the disastrous flooding of New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina. New facts are still emerging, and we expect it will be months or years before a full picture can be properly assessed.

In response to numerous requests, we present here a brief timeline of events, as best as we can document them from public records and the best news reporting from the scene. We do not blame or excuse anyone, and leave it to others to judge what, if anything, could or should have been done differently. All times are converted to Central Daylight Time.
Interesting read.

Tags: , , ,

Reuters Amazes Me Sometimes

I'm amazed at these Reuters photographers. They must snap about 4,000 pictures a second. How do they get this kind of shot?

Reuters caption:
Racing Lens' Eric Carriere grimaces as the ball hits his face during the UEFA Cup first round first leg soccer match against Groclin Grodzisk at the Felix Bollaert stadium in Lens.
Updated: The picture is missing. But, it's got a ball going into the guy's head. I've hotlinked it for now, but we'll see how long that lasts.

Tags: ,

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Regarding the Manning Centre Round Table

This weekend, a group of conservative-minded individuals will meet under the umbrella of the Manning Centre for Building Democracy, which will look at plans to getting more conservative-minded folks involved in the democratic process.

Specifically, it asks:
What can conservative minded people do to strengthen their contributions to national political discourse, the attainment of national goals, and the revitalization of Canadian democracy – contributions essential to greater electoral success and becoming a governing party?
Institutions and infrastructures have got to show that, for conservatism to gain prominence in Canada, we cannot model ourselves after - I'll say it - unsuccessful models of conservatism in other countries, and I think Mr. Manning remarks that as well:
We should be exporters rather than importers of democratic technology and cutting edge solutions to public problems. Thus the Manning Centre for Building Democracy intends to mobilize Canadian resources to strengthen Canadian political infrastructure so that Canadians are less dependent on other countries for political ideas, training, and organizational techniques.
We must remember, that conservatives want the following:
  • Respect and protection of an individual's freedoms. The minute we begin to question the rights of others, simply because of our own perception of their faults or "misguided" ways, or we begin to criticize them for not doing things the "right" way, we fail to see that we begin a dangerous path to eroding other liberties that we enjoy. Our personal perceptions, no matter how strong a belief we have in them, cannot infringe on others. It's no good fighting to be kind of free.
  • To encourage diversity, in all forms - gender, religion, social, sexual orientation, ethnicity. Diversity must be valued and made equal under all public institutions, regardless of competing interests or perceptions. Diversity reinforces and strengthens a community, a cornerstone of true conservative principles - if you seek to marginalize a sector of our community or to mold the community into some kind of artificial ideal, you destroy the community as a whole. By strengthening this community and the understanding within, we can ensure that we have low crime, stronger families, and productive active youth.
  • Encourage fiscal prudence, which doesn't mean tax cuts or program cuts every month. Fiscal prudence means simply spending when spending is required and not spending when it's not required. If a program is wasteful, or not generating results, you cease the bleed and review. We must recognize that we need sound public infrastructure, that we need sound public investment, we need to make sure that there's a basic fulfillment of public needs. And we can do that and return some of that money to tax payers - we can eliminate wasteful spending, revitalize public spending, pay down the debt and return the millions that are leftover. Those things are all possible all at once.
  • Limited government, but not "no government". We need to ensure, that the governments closest to us and interacting directly with us have the means and the authority to address our needs expediently. It's no good to us to have a federal government promising money for programs that a province or a municipality cannot deliver or refuses to be a part of. At the same time, we do not require a federal government to govern and legislate every facet of our lives.
  • The free market can determine and regulate many things, but the free market cannot govern social justice and social equality, and profit cannot be the driving factor behind education and health care. It's recognition of that that's important.
  • A strong committment to the defense of the nation. It doesn't necessarily mean battleships, aircraft carriers, and ballistic missile defense. It means developing and maintaining an armed forces that can defend us and contribute to peacekeeping around the world. While that focuses on external defense, crime and justice are important as well to internal defense. We need to ensure that we have strong laws and strong transparent systems of justice.
  • Most importantly, conservatives must recognize that pragmatism trumps ideology every time. Every single time without exception. It means changing something even if it doesn't seem very conservative.
Sometimes, with this last point, we fight so strongly to prove an ideology that sometimes we forget the truths of the situation. We cannot enforce a "like it or leave it" mentality.

This is where conservatives in Canada can excel over the other political choices. These are the things that will ensure conservatism in Canada can thrive if we once again embrace them.

Tags: , ,

I Haffa Go Potty

"There is almost no doubt that this picture will receive a tremendous amount of attention in the American and global media and is certain to produce even more jokes and insults directed at President Bush, who has been the target of ridicule throughout his terms in office."

Allow me to join the throngs.

:)

Update: I'll question the wisdom of the "pee" tag at some point in the future.

Update 2: Oh, I forgot. That's a picture of George Bush writing a "secret" note to Condoleeza Rice about whether or not he could take a potty break at the UN.

Update 3: It may turn out to be some other dude's note too. So what. It's funny.

Tags:
, humour,

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

James Calder officially endorses Janelle Pierzina for Big Brother 6 Winner

My name is James Calder and I endorse this message.

I hate that nerd herd "Friendship Alliance". I don't think it's the cliched "everybody hates the goody two-shoes" sentiment either, but between Ivette's crying and April's whininess and Maggie's doe-eyed optimism, I just can't take it.

Janelle needs to win. Janelle needs to take one for the team.

Plus, this post gives me an excuse to put up a picture of Janelle.

Tags: , ,

Don't Praise Dalton McGuinty Just Yet

Okay, I got my shorts in a knot.

Attention world: Dalton McGuinty has not done a thing about faith-arbitration tribunals yet, so stop sending out "Breaking News" bulletins and "Yahoo! News Alerts" talking about how the West's first experiment allowing Sharia-based family tribunals won't even get started. They just fill up my inbox with malarkey.

What the world doesn't know is that Dalton McGuinty says something to be popular with his core support group (whoever that is). What he then does, is research what he says, figures out he can't actually deliver on the promise, then back tracks. If he can, he'll throw in a "Damn that Mike Harris" or "Damn that previous Tory government". Once, I even think he threw in a "Damn that previous NDP government".


I digress.

As I
mentioned earlier, Dalton McGuinty said he would remove faith-based arbitration, but that requires a change in legislation. Dalton McGuinty says a lot of things, he says them often, and even puts them in campaign ads and TV commercials.

He hasn't actually done anything yet. Most of the time, he does the opposite of what he says.

Why I'm skeptical that he'll actually do anything in the short term, is because now there's opposition to his scrapping the faith-based arbitration tribunals from Jewish and Catholic groups. Dalton gets confused and gets all rattled when people disagree with him or his government's policies.

For what it's worth, I actually agree with the Premier's "one law" rule. It makes sense. There can be no criticisms of fairness if everybody is held to the same set of rules.

But the problem here is, Dalton may actually have to make a decision on his own (even though he had to be pressured to make it) and actually stick by it. Man, that would be refreshing. Maybe even a bit scary.


If he does pass legislation, I'll give him credit. But, seeing is believing.

Tags:
, , ,

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

What's Your Survivor Strategy?

In anticipation of Survivor: Guatemala's debut on Thursday night, I took a Survivor quiz.

You scored as Surprise Threat. You're the perfect mix between a schemer and an under-the-radar player, like Jenna Morasca. No one really thinks of you as the NEXT TO GO, but you always stick out as a strong player. In the end, people realize how truly strong you played the game - and you get their respect.




Surprise Threat


90%

Master Schemer


83%

Under-the-Radar


67%

Everybody's Sweetheart


57%

Leech


53%

Challenge Hercules


37%

Sex Goddess/God


33%

Mr./Miss Honesty and Integrity


0%

What's Your Survivor Strategy?
created with QuizFarm.com

Tags: ,

Monday, September 12, 2005

What Happened to Cereal?

I can't remember where I saw it but I realized today that picking cereal used to be just about picking which one had the better prize.

I think I spent about 10 or 15 minutes in the cereal aisle. There are no good cereal prizes anymore.

I bought Alpha-Bits, by the way.

Tags: ,

The Aboriginal Peoples Party

Found this on the CNEWS Political site, Aboriginal party eyed:
The Aboriginal Peoples Party has signed up more than 150 members and hopes to field a slate of candidates in the coming election. But the fact Liberal Sen. Thelma Chalifoux is helping spearhead the party has one MP crying foul.
Who is that MP that is crying foul? NDP MP, Pat Martin.

"I fully support the creation of an aboriginal political party if they choose, but it's doomed to fail in our system because there's very few seats where even a unanimous aboriginal vote would result in an MP."

[Pat] Martin raised concerns a political party could be designed to boost Liberal fortunes by hiving off several hundred votes in tight ridings, allowing Grit candidates to slide up the middle to victory.
So, wait. The NDP is claiming the Liberal Party is now setting up political parties to help siphon votes (presumably) from NDP candidates? No, that's not what he is saying, is it?

"If this is any way a front or any way connected to the Liberal party, then I have serious concerns about it," NDP MP Pat Martin said.
Where did this come from? This one, I think, may win the "Way Out of Left Field Award" for 2005.

All because the person asked to spearhead the movement is current Liberal Senator Thelma Chalifoux, who, I presume would become the first Aboriginal Peoples Party senator. Until recently, the piece claims, she was the chair of the Senate Aboriginal affairs committee.

Whoopee. I smell a deep rooted conspiracy. That's for sure.

Now, that's the hidden agenda to end all hidden agendas. Setting up political parties to defeat your rivals in "close" races.

Puh-lease. Don't the NDP have better things to do?


Tags: , , ,