Monday, October 31, 2005

How to Talk Like a Wacko

I think with my last post, I've figured out how to talk like a wacko.

In order for people to believe your point of view, accuse the people that hold the opposing point of view of having an agenda. People that have agendas are up to no good. The good people have programs, the bad people have agendas.

Next, take a term that is held to be controversial or objectionable. In my last post, I used fornication. That's a good word because no one likes fornication.

Then, accuse them of having a "pro-[insert controversial term] agenda".

For example, accuse them of having a pro-fornication agenda. Not only is being pro-fornication bad, but then to have it on an agenda is doubly bad.

I've also seen some people use the syntax, "anti-[insert positive term] agenda". It's a little softer, and not as forceful.

Which sounds worse to have - an anti-monogamy agenda or a pro-fornication agenda? See?

Tags: ,

Much Ado About Gomery

I personally believe that the first Gomery report isn't going to contain a whole lot of new information that we don't already know. It'll document that ...
  • There was political interference in who got what funding.
  • The bureaucracy created to manage the Sponsorship Fund used it's authority to benefit the Liberal Party.
  • No one currently sitting in office is responsible.

If this is case, the Conservative Party should just let it go - I'd even go so far as to say ignore it. Dismiss the report; "The report is crucial in finding out the what-went-wrong details of the program, but that the more important of the reports will be due in February and we'll be able to show what a Conservative government can do to ensure that this never happens again. We will fully incorporate the recommendations of the Gomery Inquiry."

Period. Get the jump on the competition because every political party come February will all make the same claim and the Canadian public is going to put a lot of weight on that second document.

Now, there is some speculation that this first Gomery report will point a finger at Jean Chretien and indicate that Paul Martin was unaware of the scandal. In any event, Mr. Chretien is reported to be preparing to address the public. If he is implicated, expect this to be a denial - if he is not, expect this to be a "ha ha, told you so" speech.

The only thing that could make this whole long-drawn out affair more exciting is if in Mr. Chretien's public statement he accused Mr. Martin directly. Give his successor the shaft or take him down with him. Not likely to happen ...

Tags: , , , ,

Friday, October 28, 2005

Very Cool Illusion

Try this optical illusion. It's driving me crazy.

http://www.patmedia.net/marklevinson/cool/cool_illusion.html

Tags: ,

All Star Big Brother - Contestant #6 Pick

Yes, I said "a couple of minutes". Well, 1,440 is a couple of 720 minuteses. :)

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

Michael "Cowboy" Ellis - Big Brother #5
You know, I thought and thought about that. But I would probably do it all over again. I did it for my family, and fifty grand pays off some bills. I might not be able to get my dude ranch, but I’m a winner. It was an honor to be here and I’ve been a fan of the show for long time. It was an honor to be able to participate.
Why Cowboy?

This was his speech before he evicted his half-sister Nakomis from BB5:
I first off wanna say y'all are wonderful young ladies I love both of y'all, and this is not a decision on, if, you know I hate one of y'all because that's not it. Nakomis, um, like you said we both are brother and sister, we do got that from this game. Uh, you did make a promise to me that if you won HOH you would not put me up, and I'm factoring that in as well. Diane, um, you've been awesome we you know did not, uh, agree on a lot of things at the beginning of this game, and we have grown closer over the, uh, several weeks. And you know you have been honest with me these past few weeks, and, um, we did make a agreement and I am a man of my word, and I do use the veto to save you Diane.
I didn't follow a single bit of his reasoning for letting his half-sister take the fall, and that's why I want him back in.

Previous picks:
Tags: , ,

What's Your Blog Worth?


My blog is worth $10,161.72.
How much is your blog worth?


Hat tip, Grandinite.

Feeling of inadequacy, all mine. :)

Updated: Actually, I don't feel so bad. The Progressive Right scored thusly:


My blog is worth $91,455.48.
How much is your blog worth?




Tags: ,

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Cynthia Lai

Vacation over, right back to the shilling. :)

With the departure of Alvin Curling, the former Speaker of the Ontario Legislature, to become the new Canadian Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, the Scarborough-Rouge River riding will be having a by-election on November 24, to elect a new MPP.

The Progressive Conservative candidate is Cynthia Lai.

Cynthia Lai, PC Candidate, Scarborough-Rouge RiverAdmittedly, this is going to be a tough riding for the PCs to win, as this riding has been held by Mr. Curling since 1985 and is considered to be an Ontario Liberal Party stronghold. That, and the Liberal candidate is current Ward 41 City Councillor, Bas Balkissoon - who has been councillor since 1988.

Hey, I know - let's start a campaign to convince Mr. Balkissoon to stay on as Ward 41 Councillor! We need you here!

Seriously, looking at Ms. Lai's experience in the community and her experience in business, she seems like an excellent choice and will do Scarborough-Rouge River proud.

Now, the constructive criticism part - the "Team Tory" thing ... It's convenient to have Mr. Tory's name be, well, "Tory", so it could be played that Ms. Lai is part of a true Tory team, but it reminded me a little too much of the Team Martin catchphrase. Blah ... :)

Tags: , , , , ,

I'm Tired of Not Blogging

Well, two posts in two days - I guess that means the vacation is over. It was a good break - a week for this blog.

Sometimes blogging seems to be a symptom of obsessive compulsive behaviour - I just felt the need to write something, no matter what and I'm not sure what that means for a guy like me, with two blogs - stresses a guy out. Getting away once and awhile kind of resets the perspective.

I'm going to be making my 6th Big Brother All-Star Pick shortly (maybe within minutes), so stay tuned.

I notice that this blog has been nominated for a 2005 Canadian Blog Award - as Best Personal Blog. Thanks to Socialist Swine over at Capitalist Pig vs. Socialist Swine for the nomination.

I hope that doesn't mean I have to vote NDP in return ...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Dilbert Blog

Cross posted from James Calder.

I'm still on a blogging staycation (you have to watch Corner Gas to get that), but I just learned that Scott Adams has created the Dilbert blog.

His reason for doing it goes like this:

People who are trying to decide whether to create a blog or not go through a thought process much like this:

1. The world sure needs more of ME.
2. Maybe I’ll shout more often so that people nearby can experience the joy of knowing my thoughts.
3. No, wait, shouting looks too crazy.
4. I know – I’ll write down my daily thoughts and badger people to read them.
5. If only there was a description for this process that doesn’t involve the words egomaniac or unnecessary.
6. What? It’s called a blog? I’m there!

The blogger’s philosophy goes something like this:

Everything that I think about is more fascinating than the crap in your head.
Sounds a little like ... everybody. :-)

Back to my brief vacation from blogging.

Tags: , , ,

Dilbert Blog

I'm still on a blogging staycation (you have to watch Corner Gas to get that), but I just learned that Scott Adams has created the Dilbert blog.

His reason for doing it goes like this:


People who are trying to decide whether to create a blog or not go through a thought process much like this:

1. The world sure needs more of ME.
2. Maybe I’ll shout more often so that people nearby can experience the joy of knowing my thoughts.
3. No, wait, shouting looks too crazy.
4. I know – I’ll write down my daily thoughts and badger people to read them.
5. If only there was a description for this process that doesn’t involve the words egomaniac or unnecessary.
6. What? It’s called a blog? I’m there!

The blogger’s philosophy goes something like this:

Everything that I think about is more fascinating than the crap in your head.
Sounds a little like ... everybody. :-)

Back to my brief vacation from blogging.

Tags: , , ,

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Firewall Around America? Thank you, Colin Hanna!

The latest FactCheck article dismisses an ad showing in the US regarding building a fence to keep illegal immigrants out of the US from crossing at the Mexican border. I think a lot of people are familiar with that "Let Freedom Ring, Inc." that wants to build a gigantic fence across the Mexican border. They have a webpage - you go Google it.

Anyway, they're trying to sell it as a good idea through these ads.

The group is currently showing this ad because it:
... says that "illegal immigration from Mexico provides easy cover for terrorists" while showing video of a hijacked plane slamming into the second World Trade Center tower on September 11, 2001. The narrator says "we need to secure the border." Viewers are directed to a website promoting the building of a 2000-mile security barrier similar to those built by Israel: 50 yards wide and including a ditch, coils of barbed wire, two tall wire fences, and sensors to warn of any incursion, at an estimated cost of between $4 billion and $8 billion.
It first continues to propagate the myth that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were connected with illegal immigrants but then goes into this giant fence-building nonsense.

But, it gets better:
In summary, the best evidence available, as well as the evidence cited by the sponsors of the ad, makes a better case for building a fence at the Canadian border than it does at the Mexican border – that is, if Let Freedom Ring's object is truly to stop illegal immigration from Muslim countries rather than from Mexico and Central America.
Yes, that sounds stinky too, but wait for it ...
When we asked [Colin] Hanna about this, he said "93 per cent of OTM (Other Than Mexican) illegal aliens cross the southern border." That's true, but the vast majority of those "OTM's" crossing the Mexican border come from non-Muslim nations such as El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and elsewhere in Central American and South America. When asked if he believes the US should build a fence on the northern border, Hanna said, "Yes. I think we need to seriously consider it but we must begin with the southern border."
Emphasis mine.

There you have it. After Scott Shotwell (guy who said it would be okay for softwood lumber to flow into the US from Canada tariff-free only if it was in aid of hurricane relief), I couldn't imagine somebody else qualifying for the "Ass Clown of the Year Award".

But, there you have it. Colin Hanna, you are also up for the award. Build your fences, go ahead. I don't care anymore.

And yes, it's that same Colin "Our display of the Ten Commandments plaque is entirely consistent with the original intent of the First Amendment" Hanna.

Tags: , , , , ,

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Tea Party Split Up

From the Canadian Press, we receive word that the Tea Party are splitting up:

After 15 years together, rock band the Tea Party is splitting up.

The trio will be "parting ways for the foreseeable future," frontman Jeff Martin said in a statement released Wednesday.

Formed in Toronto in 1990, Martin, bassist Stuart Chatwood and drummer Jeff Burrows are best known for their eastern-influenced rock songs, which include Sister Awake and Heaven Coming Down. The Juno-nominated band released nine albums, most recently Seven Circles in August 2004.

"I am deeply appreciative of all the support Tea Party fans have shown both the band and me over the years," said Martin, who recently moved to the Irish countryside with his family where he's working on a solo career.

"While I'm not ruling out a return of The Tea Party at some time in the future, I am focused for now on my acoustic solo record."
I remember hearing Splendor Solis in my first (or was it second ...) year at university and Tea Party quickly became one of my favourite bands. They are still, to date, the only band I've ever seen twice in concert. The last CD I bought was Tangents, but I love Writing's On the Wall out of Seven Circles.

Anyway, good luck to all. I look forward to hearing Jeff's solo releases.


Tags: , , ,

Bev Desjarlais + Carolyn Parrish: Radical Independents?

I don't think Ms. Desjarlais becoming an independent is going to favour the government's early demise in non-confidence motions. With the exception of the vote on SSM, Ms. Desjarlais is likely to be expected to follow the NDP voting patterns.

She chose to leave the caucus (she didn't have to) because her nomination as the party's candidate in Churchill was defeated. I don't think there was any vast conspiracy to oust her.

That being said, a quick scan at the Green Party's website shows no candidate for Churchill ... would Ms. Desjarlais be welcome as a Green Party candidate?

What would be kind of an interesting thought experiment would be, would Carolyn Parrish necessarily follow the Liberal Party voting strategy now that she has announced she is not running in the next election? Now, she's given no indication she would do this, so it's complete and pure hypothetical speculation. Well, it's real speculation, just about a hypothetical situation.

Think about this.

She's not running, and we know she doesn't care too much for Paul Martin - granted, she likely hates the Conservatives more - but just hang on to the anti-Paul Martin thing for a minute.

Breakdowns in confidence motions would look like this (theoretically):

Carolyn voting with the Government (Government survives):
132 Libs + 18 NDP + P. O'Brien + B. Desjarlais + C. Parrish + Speaker = 154
98 CPs + 54 Bloc + David Kilgour = 153

Carolyn voting against the Government (Government Falls):
132 Libs (no speaker) + 18 NDP + P. O'Brien + B. Desjarlais = 152
98 CPs + 54 Bloc + C. Parrish + D. Kilgour = 154

In all likelihood, with Parliament's defeat, we'd see a House of Commons re-elected largely in the same proportion as the one today (130-ish Libs, 100-ish CPC, 20-ish NDP, 50-ish BQ, etc).

So, why would she do this? Most opinion says that in the event of another minority, Paul Martin is gone and so is Stephen Harper. Carolyn Parrish kills two birds with one vote.

And, in the worst case scenario, Paul Martin stays on or forms a majority - it doesn't matter. She's gone anyway, to wait until Mr. Martin retires or steps down to make a return.

She wouldn't retire as a simple footnote in history.

Me? I don't really think it would come to pass, especially since the NDP's vote on a confidence motion is based on the government's acceptance of their program priorities. We'll see.

Tags: , , ,

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

All Star Big Brother - Contestant #5 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 fifth pick.

Jase Wirey - Big Brother 5

From Jokers Updates:

Big Brother is truly a lot more than you see on TV or the internet. It is a huge mental challenge! If you would like to play the "at home"? version, get 11 strangers to live in your dark basement for just one week. Then you can appreciate the insanity that all Houseguests go through! What you see on TV is a person in their most heightened, wacked out state. Things that are insignificant in real life are a big deal in the House. Personally, I am now deathly afraid of spider monkeys, and I pee my pants every time someone fires up the dishwasher. The psychologists say we will never be normal again.

Why Jase?

Quite possibly the most maniacally-crazy of any houseguest, Jase was dominant in every challenge without question - he was only defeated via a back door strategy where he could not compete for veto. In the interview with Jokers Updates, he mentions that he figures Dr. Will Kirby is the only winner who should compete.

Previous picks:
Tags: , ,

Company Drinking Game

Whenever you see an annual report or your next evaluation and you see any of the below phrases, you have to take a shot.

Courtesy, The SPEW Factor [ones in bold, are ones I've heard within the last week; bold italics are ones I've used myself]

Absolutely
Accountability
At the end of the day
Between a rock and a hard place
Bottom line
Breakthrough
Cash cow
Outside the box
Client focused
Coalface
Competency based
Continuous improvement
Core values
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Deliverables
Downsizing
Empowerment
Focus group
Get the message across
Globalisation
Going forward
Have I made myself perfectly clear?
Headcount
Human resources
If you get my drift
Infrastructure
Intangibles
Interface
In the final analysis
Knowledge Management
Level playing field
Line in the sand
Make no mistake about it
Margins matter
MBA
Mental model
Methodology / taxonomy
Mission
Moving right along
No blame
On the backburner
People are our greatest asset
Performance appraisal
Proactive
Push the envelope
Put in place
Re-engineering
Robust
Roll it out
Runs on the board
Seamless
Cutting edge
Shareholder value
Stakeholder
Start the ball rolling
Synergy
Systems thinking
Take on board
Team player
TQM
Transparent
Value add
Vision
Walk the talk
Win-win
With you so far
World’s Best Practice
Your business / call / enquiry is important to us

Tags: , ,

Monday, October 17, 2005

Toronto Expo 2015 Consultation

Cross posted from The Progressive Right.

The city of Toronto is looking for feedback on whether or not to host Expo 2015. Since it seems Toronto will never get an Olympics (maybe a good thing?), maybe this is something we should shoot for. I don't really have an opinion yet, so I thought I'd toss this out there.

For instance, I didn't know the thing lasts for 6 months.

I also didn't know that
Expo 2005 just concluded in Aichi, Japan. That's some bad advertising.

Expo 2015 Toronto Consultation


Once every five years a city gets the opportunity to step onto the world stage and become a focal point of international attention and achievement. In 2015, that city could be Toronto.

Early in 2006, Toronto City Council will decide whether to submit a bid to host a World Expo in 2015.

World Expos bring together the nations of the world to explore issues of shared significance, while showcasing their ingenuity, culture, innovation, achievements, excellence and leadership.

Hosting a World Expo differs significantly from playing host to a major international sporting event like the Olympics. The modern Olympic Games is a short duration, media- driven event. By contrast, a World Expo lasts for six months, is directly experienced by millions of visitors and results in large-scale infrastructure, social, and cultural legacies, as well as growth in tourism and increased tax revenues.

A significant improvement of a city’s transportation infrastructure is often a legacy of a World Expo. There are also important cultural and educational benefits – providing the opportunity to collaborate on innovative projects of global significance.

Creating an Expo that leaves a valuable legacy requires planning and foresight. Expo Corp and the City of Toronto want your input on what it takes to create an Expo that will serve Toronto.
Should Toronto bid for Expo 2015?

Public consultations are scheduled as follows:


Monday, October 17 - 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
YMCA Metro Central
20 Grosvenor St (Yonge & Wellesley), Auditorium -
map

Thursday, October 20 - 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Etobicoke Collegiate Institute
86 Montgomery Rd, Cafeteria -
map

Thursday, October 20 - 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Toronto District School Board
5050 Yonge St, First Floor Cafeteria -
map

Tags: , , , ,

Toronto Expo 2015 Consultation

The city of Toronto is looking for feedback on whether or not to host Expo 2015. Since it seems Toronto will never get an Olympics (maybe a good thing?), maybe this is something we should shoot for. I don't really have an opinion yet, so I thought I'd toss this out there.

For instance, I didn't know the thing lasts for 6 months.

I also didn't know that Expo 2005 just concluded in Aichi, Japan. That's some bad advertising.

Expo 2015 Toronto Consultation
Once every five years a city gets the opportunity to step onto the world stage and become a focal point of international attention and achievement. In 2015, that city could be Toronto.

Early in 2006, Toronto City Council will decide whether to submit a bid to host a World Expo in 2015.

World Expos bring together the nations of the world to explore issues of shared significance, while showcasing their ingenuity, culture, innovation, achievements, excellence and leadership.

Hosting a World Expo differs significantly from playing host to a major international sporting event like the Olympics. The modern Olympic Games is a short duration, media- driven event. By contrast, a World Expo lasts for six months, is directly experienced by millions of visitors and results in large-scale infrastructure, social, and cultural legacies, as well as growth in tourism and increased tax revenues.

A significant improvement of a city’s transportation infrastructure is often a legacy of a World Expo. There are also important cultural and educational benefits – providing the opportunity to collaborate on innovative projects of global significance.

Creating an Expo that leaves a valuable legacy requires planning and foresight. Expo Corp and the City of Toronto want your input on what it takes to create an Expo that will serve Toronto.
Should Toronto bid for Expo 2015?

Updated: I just noticed in today's Metro newspaper they list three locations for public consultations:

Monday, October 17 - 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
YMCA Metro Central
20 Grosvenor St (Yonge & Wellesley), Auditorium - map

Thursday, October 20 - 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Etobicoke Collegiate Institute
86 Montgomery Rd, Cafeteria - map

Thursday, October 20 - 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Toronto District School Board
5050 Yonge St, First Floor Cafeteria - map

Tags: , , , ,

Sunday, October 16, 2005

I am so smart ... S M R T

Thanks once again to Socialist Swine for keeping me firmly and completely addicted to internet quizzes.

English Genius
You scored 92% Beginner, 92% Intermediate, 100% Advanced, and 93% Expert!

You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!

Thank you so much for taking my test. I hope you enjoyed it!

For the complete Answer Key, visit my
blog: http://shortredhead78.blogspot.com/.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 24% on Beginner
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 14% on Intermediate
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 70% on Advanced
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 82% on Expert
Link: The Commonly Confused Words Test written by shortredhead78 on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test
Tags: ,

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Bird Flu in Romania?

No panic yet ... [Sydney Morning Herald, Bird flu confirmed in Romania]:
A British laboratory testing Romanian samples established that three birds found dead in the Danube delta last week contained the H5N1 strain, which has killed more than 60 people and caused the death of millions of birds in Asia since 2003.
If a British laboratory did the test, then isn't the H5N1 virus now in Britain?

Tags: ,

The Dangers of Random Internet Surfing

Like many, I use Firefox for browsing the internet and have taken advantage of its many plugins. One of my favourites is Stumble Upon, which essentially sends you to a webpage based upon your interests. Well, one of my interests is politics, so I got sent here.

American Family Association: American Girl teams with pro-abortion, pro-lesbian group

Who is this evil pro-abortion, pro-lesbian group? Girls, Inc.

It seems that, you can buy a bracelet from "American Girl" (a doll like Barbie) that says the simple phrase, "I can." The ultimate message being to girls - you can be whatever you want and do whatever you want - that you shouldn't feel pressure or restraint because you're female. 70 cents from every bracelet purchased goes to supporting Girls, Inc.

This American Family Asshat Association insists:
... Girls Inc. has on their webpage a statement saying they particularly support abortion and a girl's right to abort an unwanted baby. They were quite clear about their support for Roe, so there is no mistake or room for confusion on that count. Additionally, Girls Inc. supports contraceptives for girls.

They also support and offer resources encouraging lesbian and bi-sexual lifestyles, actually offering resources for girls. One of their publications states, "The emergence of a lesbian identity is an ongoing process, rather than an event."
I cannot begin to argue about just how stupid this whole thing is and how angry I got just reading the above tripe.

On the abortion and contraception front, Girls, Inc says:
Girls Incorporated affirms that girls and young women should make responsible decisions about sexuality, pregnancy and parenthood.

We recognize the right of all women to choose whether, when, and under what circumstances to bear children. Reproductive freedom and responsibility are essential to other rights and opportunities, including pursuit of education, employment, financial security and a stable and fulfilling family life. Restrictions of reproductive choice are especially burdensome for young women and poor women. Girls Incorporated supports a woman’s freedom of choice, a constitutional right established by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 in Roe vs. Wade.
This is the definition of "pro-abortion"? Supporting a constitutional right and woman's right to decide whether or not she wishes to reproduce? I don't see one sentence here that says they're pro-abortion. They support a woman's right to choose which is decidedly different than being pro-abortion. I support a woman's right to choose, but I'm not "pro-abortion".

And, what about this garbage about being "pro-lesbian"?
We recognize that any sizable group of girls includes those who face issues related to their sexual orientation or that of a family member and who face discrimination based on this sexual orientation. Girls have a right to positive, supportive environments and linkages to community resources for dealing with issues of sexual orientation.
Overall:
Girls Incorporated encourages all girls to develop positive sexual identities and to function comfortably as responsible sexual beings. We recognize that the family is the primary source of information about sex and we help girls and young women communicate with their families about sexuality.
I can only assume that the American Family Association opposes this - the American Family Association opposes families and ultimately wants girls to grow up isolated, in the dark, and without any access to issues affecting them.

I'm probably giving more publicity to this AFA than they deserve just by writing this.

At any rate, I encourage you to investigate this on your own, and contact Mattel, and Girls, Inc. to indicate you support them. I hope nothing as stupid as this comes up here.

Tags: , , ,

Friday, October 14, 2005

No Way, Jose

The United States will form a new espionage agency, reporting into the Central Intelligence Agency, according to the BBC. It will be called the National Clandestine Service (NCS) and will be responsible for all operations involved in spying on other people.

Now, I'm not a military or intelligence expert (no comments please), but do you tell people that you're forming a new super-secret intelligence gathering service who's responsibility is to spy on others?

Yes, spies spy on people and the CIA specifically spies on people but they've never admitted it. Don't you lose that whole deniability aspect when you specifically advertise that you're going to set up an agency whose sole job is to spy on others? How are you supposed to dimiss the conspiracy theorists if you actually, and publically, say we're setting up an agency to spy on other people, using spies, not just giant satellites.

What's even better?

The director of the new agency, whose identity will remain secret and is simply known as "Jose", will report directly to the head of the CIA, Porter Goss.
The geek in me thinks this is cool, a super-secret organization with an unknown head acting totally anonymously in foreign and sovereign countries and potentially never being held accountable for anything they commit, reporting to the CIA. Right out of James Bond.

Of course, then the rational side of me thinks this is bad; a super-secret organization with an unknown head acting totally anonymously in foreign and sovereign countries and potentially never being held accountable for anything they commit, reporting to the CIA. Right out of Orwell.

Tags: , ,

Word Verification Madness

I'm going to guess ... a y u 6? My computer doesn't have a "0\+%" key.


Tags: ,

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Guilty

I found this on PostSecret, and I'm guilty of it too. But, I usually just do it to avoid talking to strangers.


Tags: ,

I'm Not Sure I See the Point

Today, the Ontario Progressive Conservatives entered a motion of non-confidence in light of the Greg Sorbara issue.

I'm not sure I see the point, and not just from a tactical standpoint. Even if the NDP were to join up with the motion, the Liberals will just quash it with numbers alone.

There would be no "message" sent that the Liberals condone misguided cabinet ministers. Timing aside, Mr. McGuinty could have been a lot slower than he was.

I don't see it because, well, I don't honestly believe Premier McGuinty nor the Liberal government had a hand in Mr. Sorbara's alleged dealings and so I'm not sure what a non-confidence motion on this would be about. If Mr. Sorbara did have shady transactions, it still didn't do anything to undermine the government of Ontario, in my opinion.

It just doesn't make sense to me.

So, to Mr. Tory, go back to hammer Premier McGuinty on the issues. That's your strength.

Tags: , , ,

Ontario's Speech from the Throne ... *yawn*

Well, the Ontario Liberal government has delivered their latest Speech from the Throne, and I thought I'd talk a bit about it, but not too much. I don't put a whole lot of stock in these speeches - they're not legislation, and by no means is a government tied to them. But, it does give you an inkling as to where the government wants to head.

My comments.
The government will also work to expand that partnership into the general community, so that the public, non-profits and businesses will find it easier to play an essential supporting role for student success.
I'd like to see school trustees become a full-time paid position again. I mean, I don't think a trustee should be necessarily able to retire off of three years of service as a trustee, but I think it would be valuable to have qualified people who want to do the work of a trustee to be attracted to running for these positions.
Your government will work with medical experts to spell out the appropriate length of wait times for these procedures, how long the wait really is and just how much progress is being made when it comes to reducing wait times.
Ahem. See, I'm not so dumb. But, will these guys actually do it? I say no.
Our diversity fosters a wonderful view of the world, where there is no us and them: there is only us.
Take that! If you don't like "us", you can go with them. Whoever them are. They are. Whatever.
But it's also an economic advantage because it enables us to do business with the world.
But not with them because it's only us, and now the world. Sorry, just trying to liven it up a bit.
Later this year, Ontarians who fill out birth certificate applications online, will get their certificate within 15 days -- or they will get their money back.

Your government looks forward to announcing other types of service that will be delivered with a money-back guarantee.

At first, I thought this was a pretty good idea, until I realized that we need the birth certificate, it's not a nice-to-have. I'd rather you keep the cost of the birth certificate, and mandate that we get the birth certificate within 15 days or some random bureaucrat gets fired. Updated: This is a joke people. Relax.

In Ontario, and with my experience, it takes 6 months to register a birth and once that's completed, then you can apply for a birth certificate which takes another eon or so. And then, after that, you can finally apply to get a social insurance number - without which, you can't get an RESP, a bank account, or a passport for the child.

If I walk into a bank branch, I can open a bank account and have a fully working ATM card within a week. Some banks will even issue me a temporary card in the meantime. How about, we deliver to hospitals a stack of temporary birth certificates, to be authorized by hospital staff and submitted to the government for immediate processing. Within say 15 days of the submission of the paperwork, that birth certificate is issued. Not the birth registration, but an actual birth certificate.

Offer the money back guarantee on nice-to-have things - fishing licenses, hunting licenses, boating licenses, camping fee, etc. A birth certificate should outrank all these things as it's a required documentation. No gimmicks please.

All-in-all, nothing great, nothing earth-shattering, and certainly dull. It doesn't attempt to address the problems that I see with this government - it doesn't attempt to explain how we've improved since they've come to office. Why do we have private P3 hospitals which they told us were so bad? Why do we have a new health tax? Why do we have everything that he promised to get rid of? How is Ontario better now than it was before the Liberals came along? Nothing. And, what happened to the commitment to remove faith-based arbitrations - why isn't that here? Nothing, again.

Here is some other reactions to the throne speech.

Updated (second time): I had originally included a note that I had intended the "firing of a random bureaucrat" to be a joke, and was in the process of footnoting the comments about the "us" and "them" because I found the wording funny. McGuinty said "it's not us and them, it's just us." I thought that sounded funny - that was a joke, too - I'm allowed a partisan pick now and again. Anyways, I've removed the embedded "update" because some people just didn't get it, but I don't care if they do or not.

Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Ontario Finance Minister Greg Sorbara Resigns

Hey, finally an elected politician does what I've said to do when allegations of wrongdoing surface [Globe & Mail, Ontario Finance Minister resigns]:
Ontario Finance Minister Greg Sorbara stepped aside last night, following revelations that he is a target of a long-running criminal investigation into Royal Group Technologies Ltd.

"While I have no idea as to what the allegations are or the facts on which they are based, my responsibility as a minister of the Crown is to step aside pending a determination of the matters alleged in the warrant," he said in a statement.

...

The scandal swirling around the company has dogged Mr. Sorbara since February, 2004, when the RCMP, the Ontario Securities Commission and federal tax authorities revealed that they were conducting multiple probes into Royal Group. But yesterday was the first time he became directly implicated.

He was named in the search warrants filed in court, along with a handful of former Royal Group executives, including founder Vic De Zen. The RCMP accuses the men of unlawfully defrauding shareholders and creditors "by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means" from Jan. 1, 1996 to Sept. 30, 2002.
Current Energy Minister Dwight Duncan will become the new Minister of Finance.

And no, Mr. Takhar, we haven't forgotten about you.

Tags: , ,

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

All Star Big Brother - Contestant #4 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 fourth pick.

Jun Song - Big Brother 4 (Winner)

From CBS.com:

Although winning BIG BROTHER 4 brought Jun into the public eye, she has kept her celebrity status in perspective. "Celebrity in the world of reality television is quite different than any other," she points out. "It's a bit more frivolous and more about notoriety than anything else. It's not like I was part of a box-office hit, nor did I win the Nobel Prize. Reality television doesn't necessarily mean that the premise is 'real'; it's more about watching the participants' 'real' reactions to such a premise. Personally, I don't feel much like a celebrity, but I do get a kick out of people recognizing me on the streets."

Why Jun?

She totally deserved to win BB5 even though I could not stand her. She played both "sides" perfectly with the help of Allison (whom I couldn't stand either). It's a strategy that works - but I think it would only work once. I would like to see her compete again, with everyone knowing how she played.

Previous picks:
Tags: , ,

Pew Research Center Political Typology: Where Do You Fit?

Thanks to Randy over at the Progressive Conservative ReView & ReKnew, comes the Pew Research Center Political Typology: Where Do You Fit?, an effort:
... to sort voters into homogeneous groups based on their values, political beliefs and party affiliation. The current report is based on a two-part survey of 2,000 Americans interviewed in December 2004, most of whom were recontacted to follow up on current political issues in March 2005. The new analysis divides the American public into nine distinct groups, each with their own unique outlook on politics and the issues of the day. This is the fourth Political Typology study, following previous studies in 1987, 1994 and 1999.
It is another political quiz (American-centric again) that attempts to determine where you fit within 9 typologies, beyond the "red" versus "blue" groupings.

Now, what's funny is, by American standards I'm a "liberal". Using your responses to matters of policy, it attempts to categorize you based on the respondents to a political study conducted between December 2004 and March 2005.
Basic Description
This group has nearly doubled in proportion since 1999, Liberals now comprise the largest share of Democrats and is the single largest of the nine Typology groups. They are the most opposed to an assertive foreign policy, the most secular, and take the most liberal views on social issues such as homosexuality, abortion, and censorship. They differ from other Democratic groups in that they are strongly pro-environment and pro-immigration, issues which are more controversial among Conservative and Disadvantaged Democrats.

Defining Values
Strongest preference for diplomacy over use of military force. Pro-choice, supportive of gay marriage and strongly favor environmental protection. Low participation in religious activities. Most sympathetic of any group to immigrants as well as labor unions, and most opposed to the anti-terrorism Patriot Act.
I agree with most of this, except the part about the labour unions. While I can respect their place, sometimes they creep me out.

Now this is the third "Liberal/Conservative" test I've taken (#1 here, #2 here), and something I've noticed as quite apparent is that the defining points focus on social issues, and less on fiscal issues (which is what I believe differentiates a Canadian conservative from a Canadian liberal).

Oh well, I'm still a closet Dipper, I guess.

Tags: , ,

Let Him Eat Gum

From StickItToHim.com, join the One Tonne of Gum Challenge:

David Dingwall. David likes bubble gum. But even on a $250,000 government salary, who can afford it? That's why this former Liberal cabinet minister had you, the Canadian taxpayer, buy it for him.

Paul Martin. Paul and his Liberal government want to buy David Dingwall off with a giant severance package so that David and his bad news stories will just go away. Paul will pay $100,000... $500,000... whatever it takes. But like chewing gum in your tummy, this mess isn't going anywhere.

It's time to give David Dingwall what he wants, and stop Paul Martin from spending more of your tax dollars on hush money on old Liberal hacks.

Join in our "One Tonne of Gum Challenge" and have Paul Martin pay David his hush money with plain old chewing gum, instead of a half-million more of our hard-earned cash.

So we urge all Canadians to send gum, postage free, in the mail to:

David Dingwall Severance Fund
C/O Paul Martin, Prime Minister
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Let's help to cover the $500,000 proposed severance with 387,597 pieces of gum (that's $1.29 a pack, just ask David). Come on Canada we know you're up to the task. Stick it To Him!

Tags: , ,

Earthquake in Asia

Please help in the tragedy unfolding in South Asia.

More than 20,000 people are thought to have died in a powerful earthquake in Pakistan, northern India and the disputed territory of Kashmir. Pakistan's president has appealed for international help, saying his country cannot deal with the devastating aftermath on its own.
Reporters Log [BBC]

BBC South Asia Quake In Depth [BBC]

International Committee of the Red Cross - Family Links

Family News Network for persons affected by the natural disaster in Pakistan and India. As a result of a powerful earthquake on 8 October 2005, tens of thousands of people in Pakistan and India were killed and are missing or separated from their relatives. Families all over the world have lost contact and are without news of their loved ones in the region. In an effort to help restore family links, the ICRC, in cooperation with the tracing services of the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, offers this service to all those seeking information about relatives who may have been affected by the earthquake.
Canadian Red Cross - Donate Now.

From Foreign Affairs Canada:

Canadians currently in these regions should follow the advice of local authorities, avoid disaster areas, and contact the High Commission of Canada in New Delhi or the High Commission of Canada in Islamabad if they require assistance or the Emergency Operations Centre in Ottawa (613) 996-8885.

If you are inquiring about non-Canadian citizens in these areas, please contact the High Commission for the Republic of India or the High Commission for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in Ottawa.
Tags: , , , ,

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Which Office Moron Are You?

I'll smoke you a kipper, because you'll be back for breakfast. You're the cult television show quoting, user account deleting, soap loathing IT Manager.

Something in your childhood has made you the way you are. You've been hired to provide a service to everyone else in the office - you make the computers run, and you make them run well. You've streamlined everything; you've removed all the viruses and installed all the firewalls. The only trouble - the only hole in your veneer of digital perfection - is the way you laugh at everyone.

If someone doesn't know UNIX, you laugh at them. If they lose their password, they laugh at them. If they visit a website using Microsoft Internet Explorer and their computer succumbs to an Internet worm, you laugh. Then you take a swig of your Coke, and with another hearty chuckle tell all your friends on IRC about the idiots you have to deal with.

Maybe it makes you feel better about yourself, although let's face it, you don't need help in that department. You're great, you. Fantastic like burning cool. If only those luddite office fools would let you play Unreal Tournament in peace.

I'm the IT manager. Do you fancy me?
Which Office Moron Are You?
Rum and Monkey: jamming your photocopier one tray at a time.

Tags: ,

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

It's probably going to be light on posting for the weekend as I'm going to gladly submit myself to a near constant, turkey-induced, tryptophan haze.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Give thanks to someone or something important this weekend.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

All Star Big Brother - Contestant #3 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 third pick.

Janelle Pierzina - Big Brother 6
Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, a small city in the nothern land of lakes region, Janelle swears she's never been to nearby Frostbite Falls nor ever met its most famous residents Rocket J. Squirel and Bullwinkle the Moose. But she did warm up those cold winter nights for a lot of lucky sports fans who got to watch this athletic and talented high school cheerleader who went on to compete in the Miss Minnesota Pagent in 2000.
Why Janelle?

Duh.

Seriously, she was the final member of the Sovereign Six from BB6. She's not only beautiful, but she's smart and evil. That's a deadly combination, if not an automatic shoo-in for a James Bond femme fatale.

Previous picks:
Tags: , , ,

This is Why I'm Not an Economist

Got the following Yahoo! News Alert today:

NEW YORK (AP) A private research group says that a measure of activity for the non-manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy grew at a sharply lower rate in September.
So... what happened? What "activity"? What's the "non-manufacturing" sector? Retail, financial, and health services - anything else? What the hell does "grew at a sharply lower rate" mean? The rate at which it grew was different than a previous rate?

Meh.


Tags: , ,

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The New Orleans Coalition for Legal Aid and Disaster Relief

Just read this in my Yahoo! Daily Alert. Go check it out. Some good things growing in the aftermath of Katrina.

The New Orleans Coalition for Legal Aid and Disaster Relief
The Coalition serves as a contact point and clearinghouse for legal information designed to assist Hurricane Katrina victims (wherever they may be located). In addition, we serve as a watchdog and oversight group to ensure that public and private resources are distributed on an equitable basis.
The effort is on a volunteer basis and services are pro bono.

About the Coalition:
The Coalition seeks to bring together resources from all parts of the legal community (law school faculty, students, and practicing lawyers), as well as non-lawyers, to facilitate the fair distribution of federal, state, and private disaster relief to New Orleanians (wherever they may be) in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. We will also assist other groups that provide emergency legal services to those in need.

Though the Coalition developed from the efforts of Tulane Law School faculty, students, and alumni, the Coalition is independently organized as the From the Lake to the River Foundation, Inc., membership and participation are open to anyone (especially lawyers and law students) who want to help with this crucial relief effort.
Tags: , ,

Political Etiquette 101 - Don't Send Dumb Emails

I don't normally wade into discussions of American politics because I think we have enough of a mess up here to talk about.

As you may have heard, George Bush nominated somebody completely unknown to the Supreme Court, taking many by surprise. Well, I guess the word coming out is that the Republican National Committee attempted to motivate Republicans to oppose Democrat opposition to her nomination in an email by claiming that Democrats were specifically planning to oppose her nomination before she was even named.

The part of the email of interest is as follows:
President Bush selected Ms. Miers after embarking on a thorough and deliberate thought process. This confirmation however promises to be much more contentious than the confirmation of Judge John Roberts. Before Ms. Miers was even announced many Democrat groups said they would oppose her. They have no interest in giving Ms. Miers a fair hearing or vote. They are promising to throw every punch, make every accusation and pressure every Senator to oppose this nominee no matter what her qualifications may be. We have to be prepared to counter their actions and that is why Harriet Miers needs your help.
Emphasis mine. The full email can be found here [FactCheck, Harriet Miers Needs Your Help [PDF])

The biggest opposition to the whole nomination is from, well, Republicans. As has been reported elsewhere.
... William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, said, "I'm disappointed, depressed and demoralized" at Bush's choice. "Harriet Miers has an impressive record as a corporate attorney and Bush administration official. She has no constitutionalist credentials that I know of."

And the conservative National Review's David Frum called the Miers nomination an "unforced error" by Bush, saying, "We are being asked by this president to take this appointment purely on trust, without any independent reason to support it. And that is not a request conservatives can safely grant."
Besides George Bush, it seems that one of Harriet Miers most optimistic supporters is US Senator Harry Reid ... a Democrat? And the Senate Democrat Leader too.
In my view, the Supreme Court would benefit from the addition of a justice who has real experience as a practicing lawyer. The current justices have all been chosen from the lower federal courts. A nominee with relevant non-judicial experience would bring a different and useful perspective to the Court. [Full release]
From my simple analysis, if your government is up to questions of credibility and increased scrutiny, why would you send out a fabrication like this, especially one so easily verifiable and one so easy to be proven to be false as time goes on? In the best case scenario, it just comes off as blindly partisan.

Was there going to be opposition from Bush opponents? Sure, but the opposition was specific to an issue and not to an individual. That said, there was going to be opposition regardless of who was nominated, simply on the fact that President Bush was going to make it. But this note clearly implied that the Democrats (or groups affiliated with the Democrats) had a plan to oppose the nomination and specifically to oppose Harriet Miers, which was completely false.

This is just not how you should rally the troops.

[Source: FactCheck]

Tags: , , , ,

George Bush Joke

Read this one the other day.

Donald Rumsfeld is briefing President Bush one morning, and gives what he thinks is a better than usual casualty report: "Mr. President, we lost three Brazilian soldiers in Iraq yesterday."

Dubya's jaw drops and his face grows ashen. Rummy is shocked, and asks the President what's wrong. Confused, Bush looks around at his advisors and replies:

"Well damn, Rummy, I may not be able to count that high, but I know even one brazillion is a lot of men."
Hat tip to Bound by Gravity and the now gone Babbling Brooks for this one.

Tags: , ,

Monday, October 03, 2005

Theorem of Drug Store Shopping

This is based off of completely unscientific observations, but one that I have noted everytime I go to the drug store.

Theorem of Drug Store Shopping

At any time of the day, there is always at least one person browsing each aisle in a drug store - not necessarily purchasing anything, but perusing it.

Axiom: There will be more people browsing in the areas around embarrassing items (but not browsing said embarrassing items). This is based more on anecdotal evidence, rather than a first-hand account. Ahem.

Now, I came to this conclusion because I was today in a local Shoppers' Drug Mart. I was getting another round of Cold-FX. The aisles at this Shoppers are particularly narrow, meaning that if even one other person is in it, you have to do some thigh-kissing to get out. So, I looked for an empty aisle, and couldn't find one. I had to walk through two guys looking at hair care products (!).


Tags: , , ,

The Politics Test

More politics quizzing.

Hat tip to Socialist Swine for this one. It's another more American-centric quiz to determine your political slant, but I think this one seems a little more accurate than that Liberal/Conservative one.

There were a couple of questions that I just didn't think fit in because they reflect less on personal politics and more on the agendas of outspoken members of a political party.

I don't, for instance, believe there should be prayer in public schools. Why? I'm not religious. How can I support something I don't believe in?

Plus, that dumb Iraq war question again.

You are a

Social Liberal
(68% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(36% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Democrat




Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Tags: , ,