Friday, June 30, 2006

Convention Fee Wackiness

About this [Canada.com, NDP files complaint over alleged illegal donations to Conservatives]:
The New Democratic Party is asking Canada's elections commissioner to investigate the Conservative party's refusal to report fees paid for its 2005 convention as political donations.

The Conservatives vehemently deny transgressing any laws or regulations. NDP MP Pat Martin has sent a complaint to Raymond Landry in the wake of comments by Treasury Board President John Baird that the Conservative party didn't report delegate fees at its last convention as donations or issue tax receipts for them.
What Sinister Thoughts said:
Shut up, cooperate and pay the fine if you are guilty. That's the only way to deal with this situation.
It seems simple enough to me. I don't understand the idea that we need to fight every question.

Updated: Good [CTV, Harper says all party financing rules were obeyed]:
Chief Electoral Office Jean-Pierre Kingsley has asked the Conservatives to provide him with all supporting documents related to the convention.

Harper's spokesman Dimitris Soudas said the party would comply with the request.

"We are more than willing to provide any further information to Elections Canada," Soudas said. "Any further information that Elections Canada requires we'll be submitting it. It won't be through press releases though."

All parties were required to submit their final financial returns for 2005 by Friday, but Kingsley wanted more information from the Conservatives in light of the confusion over the convention fees.
[H/T, Bound by Gravity]

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act

Somebody needs to explain the following mantra to me.

If you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.
It's usually used to justify unwarranted or unnecessary surveillance. The premise being, the surveillance does more for the common good than the harm done by the infringment on personal privacy.

It's ultimately meant to be dismissive - if you object to the scrutiny, you must have something to hide.

Of course, it overlooks, "If I've done nothing wrong, why am I being watched?"

Now, go read this article, Globe & Mail, Big Brother Watching You Surf?.

I figure I'm going to hear it more often as people begin to try to justify the government reintroducing the Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act:
MITA will also make subscriber contact information from telecommunications service providers available on request to designated law enforcement and CSIS officials. Under the legislation, these officials will be able to request individuals’ basic contact information such as their name, address, telephone or cell phone number or IP address. The release of this information will be subject to rigorous privacy safeguards which will include requiring that all requests for this information are recorded for audit and review purposes.
[H/T, Bound by Gravity]

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Friday, June 23, 2006

The Enclave of South Florida

We are all eagerly awaiting the upcoming press conference by Republican U.S. Representative John Hostettler in response to the arrest of 7 suspected terrorists [CBC, 7 arrested in suspected U.S. attacks plot] where he declares the United States, and in particular, the enclave of South Florida as a hotbed and a breeding ground for terrorism.

Paraphrasing a recent commentary from Mr. Hostettler:

"South Florida, like those parts of London that are host to the radical imams who influenced the 9/11 terrorists and the shoe bomber, has people who adhere to a militant understanding of Islam."
Mr. Hostettler is expected to condemn the United States for its liberal immigration laws and how it embraces multiculturalism so openly, and announce plans to erect a giant wall separating the United States from the United States.

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Leaving AOL

If you read the fine print when you sign up for AOL, it says, "AOL is 4 LIFE~!!~!".



I wonder why it was in Mr. Ferrari's "best interest" not to leave AOL - in fact, it was the worst thing he could do?

At any rate, it looks like AOL apologized and the customer service rep got canned.

You can read more about the saga at Mr. Ferrari's blog, insignificant thoughts.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s

One of my Google Alerts fired off an article to me that's posted on Christianity.ca - it's a piece by Bruce Clemenger called "Of Church, State and the Political Engagement". The opening paragraph summarizes the intent of the piece.
Commentaries about whether Catholic Members of Parliament who voted in favour of redefining marriage should be refused communion, musings about whether a religious right is emerging in Canada, and accusations that churches are seeking to impose their morality on others, has reignited the debate about the relationship between Church and State. Our response should be two-fold: first we should respond to the misperceptions that are rooted in stereotypes, misunderstanding or bias, and second, in a time of continued secularization and differing views about the role of the Church in society, we can avail ourselves of the opportunity to engage in a discussion about the relationship between Church and State.
The article doesn't actually talk about this at all, but what it does try to argue is why evangelicals, or the "religious right" should be involved in politics - arguing that there are common causes and that the concern over the "religious right" is all based upon misconceptions. The problem is, Mr. Clemenger's argument is itself based upon a misconception. His example of same-sex marriage as why evangelicals should be more involved displays that misconception:
Take the redefinition of marriage. We were told we were trying to impose our morality on others by defending the man/woman definition of marriage. Yet the other side was making moral arguments about why the definition should be changed. And in the end, it is the government that imposes a public definition of marriage - —it makes a moral choice.
Emphasis is mine.

Governments are incapable of making moral choices. Governments do not legislate morality - the minute a government determines what is right versus what is wrong, we are in deep trouble. Governments are only capable of determining what is legal versus what is illegal - or to boil it down even further, governments can only determine what is just - just for all people, not for some and not for most.

Because something is deemed to be immoral, does not make it illegal. Similarly, something somebody deems as moral, isn't necessarily legal. For example, to some, eating beef on Fridays is immoral or eating pork at all is immoral - it isn't illegal.

The common assertion raised by those of the religious right is that morality equals justice. If you encode morality, you will naturally achieve justice.

The piece then goes on to say:
While the Church and the State are distinct and have separate callings, they do have some tasks—such as the pursuit of justice—in common. This commonality can contribute to both confusion and inappropriate expectations unless we are mindful of their respective roles in God's creation.
Well, getting past the God talk, we once again arrive at the assertion that morality is the same as justice. The Church has never sought justice, and never will. Religion pursues instruction in a particular stripe of morality - teaching what is believed to be right and wrong. That is not justice.

Morality is not universal and justice must be universal and apply equally to all. Lawmakers, using morality to guide their way, must remember that - justice must apply universally, not to just those of your particular moral stripe.

Updated: Blue Grit comments on the same piece.

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I Need a Law Degree

Today's quote of the day comes from Ontario Environment Minister Laurel Broten, who made the following remark regarding how Ontario can get around conducting an environmental impact analysis when it constructs new nuclear power plants [Toronto Sun, Grits 'including to exclude']:
"In order to confirm and make it clear that the province was not going to change the law, that we were not going to expand what should be included in an environmental assessment, we chose a step of including -- by way of designation -- to exclude."
Ontario NDP leader, Howard Hampton, pointed this out. I have no idea what the Environment Minister said.

I tried to get Babelfish to translate it into Spanish, then back into English again, to see if that helps clear it up. It came out:
In order to confirm and to do the clear one to him that the province was not going to change the law, that that we were not going to extend itself what is due to include in an environmental burden, we chose a step to include -- by the designation -- to exclude.
Sounds about the same. Except, who is doing "the clear one" to whom?

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By Request : Elevator Princesses, Part 2

Here is part two in my look at elevator princesses. You can find part one, here.

In this section, I'm going to talk more about the princesses that do society the most harm when it comes to using the elevator. These wankae elevatorae deserves our utmost contempt.

The first, is the Yes I'm the Only One In Here, But I Didn't Deal It Princess. It smells like a skunk died under a garbage bag full of fetid horse manure in the middle of August and you didn't do it ... you just happened to be standing in an enclosed space with the most noxious fumes present and you didn't do it. Dude, you did it ... at least smile and give us the thumbs up. I mean, come on. That's what I do.

The next, is the Elevator Etiquette Schmetiquette Princess. The rules for leaving and entering an elevator have been defined since ancient times. People getting off the elevator go first, people getting on go last. It doesn't matter if there was a fraction of a millisecond that there was no movement coming from the elevator. These princesses usually have an "important delivery" (maybe they're trying to avoid being one of the above princesses ... mmm) or an "important meeting" (again ... mmm) and they need to rush onto that elevator because waiting outside the car for the 5 seconds that people are STILL GOING TO TAKE GETTING OFF, is too much to handle.


Believed to be an evolutionary offshoot of the Etiquette Princess, is the Last In Last Out Princess. This is the dude who gets on last, and who stands right by the elevator door. He's also the guy who's going to the top floor. He's also the guy when it stops on your floor, refuses to move - he feigns ignorance that somebody is trying to get by - you know this by the way he sways his head back and forth as he tries to scan the horizon for who it could be saying "excuse me" behind him ... if you're lucky, you've stuck your foot in the door and are holding it open in order to get through. It should be sufficient to say "excuse me" to mean get out of the road - not stand there like a great pillock.

Finally, There's Only One More Coming Princess. It's morning coffee, lunch, afternoon smoke break rush ... One person, the "scout" calls the elevator on behalf of a herd of about 10 or 15. The elevator comes and the scout holds the elevator door open waiting for his herd. A few of the herd trickle through ... You smile politely because you know, just because you have somewhere to go, doesn't mean you should inhibit somebody from holding the elevator. Then, you know you're in for a wait.

"There's only one more coming."

One of the rest of the herd will say, "When I saw her, she was going to the bathroom."

"Should we hold the elevator?"

NO. If you have to ask, you don't need to. They know how the elevator works, and it's next to impossible to get lost - you can only go UP or DOWN ... it's a marvelous technology. By this time, you're saved by the elevator alarm that rings when it thinks the elevator door is stuck open too long - for mechanical, not maniacal, reasons, and like a trained circus animal, the princess releases the door. "Oh well," he'll say, "she'll have to catch the next one."

Gee, ya think?

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Pardon the Dust

I'm trying out a new template. It's ORANGE.

Howard 101!

I turned on my Sirius radio tonight to catch the Howard Stern replay and my Sportster tells me that it's updating to new stations ...

We get Howard 101 now!

Bubba!

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Thought Experiment : Use vs. Possession

When determining if something should be prohibited, at what point should it be illegal - when it is possessed, or when it is used criminally?

Suppose you had an object, that when used or stored responsibly, did not impact the lives of others or to the user (such as causing injury or property damage), but if used could lead to harm - either to self or others.

"Possess" means simply that - to have in one's possession, but not using.

"Use" means to use it for it's intended purpose - not a strange purpose. Umbrellas could be used as a parachute - a bad one, mind you, but it could. The danger of this definition is, of course, that some objects have more than one use - a claw hammer can both put in and pull out nails. So, you have to consider that as well.

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Monday, June 19, 2006

I Can't Believe I Watched the Whole Thing

A-Channel in Toronto was showing "What Women Want" last night. I almost watched the whole thing.

What's worse, I couldn't stop watching it. I'm not sure if it was a car accident type effect or if I was hypnotized by Marisa Tomei and Helen Hunt ... or worse; it was genuinely compelling.

I prefer to assume one of the former two.


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Monday, June 12, 2006

John "Earthquake" Tenta, June 22, 1963 - June 7, 2006

I missed posting about this, but I wanted to bring it up [ESPN, Ex-LSU, WWF wrestler 'Earthquake' dies at 42]:
Former LSU wrestler John Tenta, known professionally as "Earthquake" while competing in the World Wrestling Federation, has died at the age of 42, the school said Thursday.

Tenta, who lettered for the Tigers in the early 1980s when wrestling was a nationally renowned varsity sport at LSU, died after a lengthy battle with bladder cancer.

"Big John," as he was known at LSU, also participated in football for the Tigers.

Born in Surrey, British Columbia, he weighed 11 pounds, 3 ounces at birth. Recently he measured 6-foot-6 and weighed in at over 400 pounds, LSU said.

After leaving LSU, Tenta briefly took up sumo wrestling in Japan before going into pro wrestling. He joined the World Wrestling Federation in 1989 and gained fame as "Earthquake" as he feuded with Hulk Hogan.

Tenta performed for both World Wrestling Entertainment and World Championship Wrestling throughout the 1990s.

In recent years he had lived in Florida. He is survived by his wife and three children.
He had one of the most interesting wrestling debuts too and I remember marking out big time when I thought it was real. The Ultimate Warrior and Dino Bravo were having a test of strength competition, when Jimmy "The Mouth of the South" Hart (Bravo's manager) suggested having someone from the audience come sit on their shoulders while they did a pushup.

John Tenta was close to 500 pounds.

Anyway, the setup was, Tenta came into the ring, first sat on Bravo's shoulders who did the pushups, and then when he went to do it to Warrior, he crashed down on him. Tenta, Bravo and Hart were all in on it. I still remember cheering, because the Warrior annoyed me.

More on John "Earthquake" Tenta, one of the all time greats, can be found at Wikipedia.

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Friday, June 09, 2006

The Enclave of South Toronto

Apparently, the enclave of South Toronto is a hotbed and a breeding ground. Unfortunately for us, nobody knows where this enclave is for all that breeding on hotbeds. It's somewhere, south of Toronto, but nobody has erected a sign on the QEW telling us where it is actually. U.S. Representative, John Hostettler is on the case [Globe & Mail, Alienation at home, criticism from abroad]:

A U.S. congressman warned yesterday that Canada, and in particular the enclave of "South Toronto," was a breeding ground for Islamic terrorists and that the United States will be under threat as long as passports are not required of all Canadians crossing the border.

"South Toronto, like those parts of London that are host to the radical imams who influenced the 9/11 terrorists and the shoe bomber, has people who adhere to a militant understanding of Islam," said John Hostettler, chairman of the House of Representatives subcommittee on immigration and border security, noting that Toronto has a very large South Asian community.

Later, when asked by reporters to describe "South Toronto" in greater detail, Mr. Hostettler said it was "a location which I understand is the type of enclave that allows for this radical type of discussion to go on."
Oh, it's another story about terrorism. Here I was, all excited about hotbeds and breeding.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Ontario in Breach of Charter

It was bound to happen and it's about time it did [Globe & Mail, Two mothers should be allowed on birth document, judge says]:

An Ontario judge struck down a birth registry provision yesterday that prevents lesbian couples from being registered as parents of babies conceived through artificial insemination, saying that the regulation causes them unjustified "pain and hardship."

Mr. Justice Paul Rivard of the Ontario Superior Court ruled that the province violated the litigants' right to equality by stopping them from adding their names to the Statement of Live Births after their babies are born.

When I previously took the Liberal Party to task for not legislating same-sex adoption, I highlighted Ontario's adoption policy as being one I support for its inclusiveness. The Ontario regulations for adoption go as follows [Ministry of Children and Youth Services, How to Adopt a Child in Ontario]:

All Ontario residents are able to adopt a child without discrimination on the basis of such factors as race, religion, age, ethnic origin, mental/physical disability, gender, sexual orientation, or marital status. In intercountry adoptions, the Ministry makes every effort to ensure that adoptive applicants are informed about the laws, requirements, and eligibility criteria of the foreign jurisdiction.

I guess the distinction is between adoption and birth registration, in this ruling.

Ontario should move quickly to remove this impediment restricting same-sex parents. It seems to me, if the mother of one child wishes their partner, male or female, to be an official parent in the eyes of the law, the law should be consistent. We should be applauding that another adult wants to take parental responsibility for a child in identically the same way as adoption.

Allow the partner on the birth registry.

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Monday, June 05, 2006

Blogs for Rodney MacDonald, PC Premier of Nova Scotia

The Sorry Centrist has a blog roll started to support the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party and the re-election of Rodney MacDonald as Premier in the upcoming election in Nova Scotia - June 13.

Blogs4Rodney:
Blogs4Rodney is a blogroll of conservative bloggers and websites which support Rodney MacDonald in his quest to be re-elected as Premier of Nova Scotia. The blogroll unequivocally supports Rodney's 7 priorities to build a stronger province both economically and socially for all Nova Scotians. There is no question that Rodney MacDonald has a rock solid conservative plan for Nova Scotia – a plan that continues John Hamm’s legacy to our children of balanced budgets and paying down the debt. On behalf Blogs4Rodney, we ask you to support Rodney on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 so he can make things better for all Nova Scotians and their families. It is time that 'WE UNITE' behind all good conservatives from coast-to-coast-to-coast so that all regions of this country can grow stronger as a result of strong values and principles that only a tory can deliver. Join the roll and show your support for Rodney and his great team.
What are Rodney MacDonald's 7 Priorities?

A Working Families Pharmacare Plan for the 140,000 Nova Scotians who go without.

Nova Scotia’s first Anti-Crime Agenda, including 250 new police officers to keep our streets and communities safe.

A break for working families, starting with no provincial sales tax on home energy costs.

Greater support for all students, from lowering tuition by more than $1000, to smaller class sizes up to grade 6.

The right home for every senior, through 1,300 more nursing home beds or more help for seniors to stay in their own homes.

The largest single roadbuilding program in 40 years – with at least 2,000 km of new paving.

More parks, more green spaces and 500 km of new trails.

Support Rodney MacDonald!

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Saturday, June 03, 2006

What Kind of Alcohol Are You?





You Are Beer!



You don't need to get totally wasted when you hit the bars.
More of a social drinker, you just like to have fun with your friends.
And as long as the beer keeps flowing, you're a happy camper.
But don't mix things up: "Beer Before Liquor, Never Been Sicker!"



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Friday, June 02, 2006

Dumb It Down For Me

Rising out of some comments from a post over at the Conservative Hipster, somebody needs to explain this thought of mine to me.

Why is a 14 year old who commits a crime an adult needing punishment, but a 14-year old who makes out with a 20-year old a child needing protection?

I could see a consistent argument - either all 14 year olds are adults fully aware of what they're doing, or all 14 year olds are children needing protection.

I don't see the argument at all that 14 year olds are sometimes adults, and sometimes children - they're like the letter 'y' of the vowel world, I guess.

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By Request : Elevator Princesses, Part 1

As requested by the illustrious Socialist Swine, I present a rant on Elevator Princesses.

It occurred to me that I think the genus wankus elevatorus, is by far the largest group of all the wankae, containing many species and subtle genetic variations, ranging from the benign to the malevolent. As a result, I'll split this over a couple of posts.

This first post will deal with benign elevator princesses, relatively speaking of course.

The first species is the Pushing the Elevator Call Multiple Times Makes Elevator Come Faster Elevator Princess, sometimes referred to as the button masher. These are the people, that despite the fact that the elevator call button is lit, will hover over it and repeatedly press it several times. If you talk to a button masher, they will tell you that if you push it more than once, that speeds up the elevator - it's a secret only the Illuminati or Masons know about, I guess. In most cases, this elevator princess is harmless, except if the button is accompanied by a high-pitch "bing" noise - bing bing bing bing bing. Perhaps, this is how the button masher calls mates? I think Elaine on Seinfeld made this condition more publicly accepted.

The next is also relatively benign - the So What Happens on Your Floor Elevator Princess. Not content to simply stand there, looking at the numbers or
Captivate, they need to ask you what goes on when you get off the elevator. It's not because they are being friendly or genuinely curious - they know damn well what's on your floor; they're using it as a means to rant on about how lousy your company is (they may be right, but that's immaterial). It usually starts rather innocuously - a polite thank you for holding the elevator or commenting on some interesting news item. Then, you push your floor number - the blood is in the water.

"Ah - the 6th floor. So, what's on the 6th floor?"

Politely, you respond "Corporation, Inc.".

"Corporation, Inc.? What do they do?"

And you're stuck talking about market yields, corporate scams, how the princess was duped into buying their stock, blah blah blah. To avoid this situation, respond with, "My proctologist / gynecologist" instead of the real reason you're there.

The final one is the Last Elevator Ride on Earth Princess. This princess is the most unusual because it apparently cares little for it's personal safety when trying to get on an elevator. The doors will be within an inch of closing, but they are there - jutting a finger, an arm, or a leg to prevent that door from closing. This is behaviour you'd expect if the elevator was the last one going up on earth. It's more perplexing when you can hear the arrival of other elevator cars, in the same lobby where there's a bank of about 8 or 10 elevators all going in the same direction.

Coming next, the malevolent elevator princesses ... stay tuned.

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