Friday, September 29, 2006

Canadian Blog Hockey League (CBHL)

It's time once again to lace up your virtual skates for the Canadian Blog Hockey League. It's a Yahoo! Fantasy Hockey Pool for Canadian bloggers. I came 14th out of a huge number of teams last season - that's HUGE - I think 14th was like in the top percentile. Yes, 14th out of 20 is in the top percentile. :)

Andrew, from Bound by Gravity, is the pool commissioner.

Here are the details - the draft is happening October 4.

Pool Type: Yahoo, Points Only
Draft: October 4, autodraft

Max Moves: 15
Max Trades: Unlimited

Points:
2 - Goal
1 - Assist
.5 - Plus/Minus
.5 - PIM
+2 - Power play point
+2 - Shorthanded point
+3 - Game winning goal
.25 - Shot on Goal

Goalie Points:
5 - Win
+5 - Shutout

Send an email to Andrew (andrew.anderson@gmail.com) to sign up!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Federal Appointments to the Toronto Port Authority, Part 3

Well, this post is not technically about the federal government appointments to the Toronto Port Authority (I previously talked about them here and here). But, it is related.

Why does the federal government, Liberal and Conservative alike, refuse to acknowledge the will of the City of Toronto in regards to the Toronto Island Airport [Globe & Mail, Ottawa handed out $20-million to Island airline boss]:

Yesterday, Transport Canada gave Porter Airlines final approval for its plan to launch commercial air service at the Toronto island airport. But the same federal ministry was far more generous two years ago, when it gave Porter founder Robert Deluce $20-million in order to start up his new airline.

What?

The size of the payout to Mr. Deluce, revealed in a confidential document obtained by The Globe and Mail, clears up a central mystery of the murky events that followed Toronto City Council's decision in December, 2003, to rescind its approval of a proposed bridge to the airport. In particular, it explains how a bridge originally estimated to cost slightly more than $20-million to build ended up costing taxpayers $35-million to stop.

A confidential memorandum justifying the extraordinary settlement, marked "protect in full," details multiple payouts to three private companies and the Toronto Port Authority (TPA) following cancellation of the bridge. Using generous estimates of sunk costs, lost profits and alleged legal liabilities, it justifies the largesse primarily as a means to prop up the money-losing TPA until such time as it begins to receive revenue from Mr. Deluce's new airline.

While Ottawa publicly agreed to cancel the bridge in accordance with municipal demands, the memo shows that it worked behind the scenes to supply the TPA and Mr. Deluce with the means to finance airport expansion at the same time. The former federal government justified the $35-million payout as a settlement of legal claims, but the memo, dated Nov. 11, 2004, makes clear that the purpose of the settlement was to return the TPA to financial health -- with a well-funded new airline as a paying customer.

In short, the federal government wants the Toronto Airport to succeed without any sort of input, support, or concern for the opinion of the city - it's irregardless of who the government is and what they arguably stand for. It started in December 2003 with the the Liberal payout and it ended in September of 2006, with the Conservative appointments to the Toronto Port Authority.

During the last federal election, only NDP candidate Olivia Chow spoke of the need for the federal government to keep its hands off the Toronto Islands and to stop the airport, because of the will of the City of Toronto. You can disagree with that position if you want, but it still represents the will of the city.

Can someone explain to me why ignoring the city is a good thing? More than that - why does the federal government believe it needs to support and fund the Toronto Island Airport this way, instead of in the open?

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Arctic Sovereignty Breached!

To all you guys that scoffed at the Canadian government wanting to buy icebreakers to patrol the north ... who's laughing now [CBC, Romanian takes long road to Toronto, via Grise Fiord]?

A 32-year-old Romanian man who arrived in the High Arctic community of Grise Fiord from Greenland by motorboat Monday has been arrested under the Immigration Act.

The man travelled up the west coast of Greenland, from Qaanaq to Sisimiut, and then crossed the icy waters of Davis Strait to Grise Fiord, said Nunavut RCMP Cpl. Randy Slawson.

:)

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

My October 31st Still Includes Hallowe'en

It's starting again [BBC, Halloween outfits 'create fear']:
Retailers who sell traditional Halloween merchandise, such as scary masks, are creating a "climate of fear", the Bishop of Bolton[, Rt Rev David Gillett,] has said.

...

"I share the view of many Christians that large retailers are increasingly keen to commercialise Halloween celebrations in a way that pressurises parents to purchase goods that promote the dark, negative side of Halloween and could encourage anti-social behaviour," he said.
[H/T, UnexplainedMysteries.com]

I'm not even going to entertain the ridiculousness of this idea. At any rate, I still think these guys are missing the
truest of the true evil holidays.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Crime and Punishment

With the recent tragedy at Dawson College in Montreal, there has been a lot of talk on crime and punishment - the gun registry, stiffer penalties. John Gray sums up my feelings on all this discussion [CBC, The revamped law and order debate]:
The theory of law and order is that those who might be tempted to rob or kill will be dissuaded from doing so by the fear of retribution. If you commit a crime, you will be caught and punished. Yet it is hard to believe that such thoughts ever crossed the mind of Kimveer Gill. How do you build a legal system on the threat of retribution if that's never a consideration?

Kimveer Gill didn't care about gun laws, the gun registry, or whether he'd end up in jail for 25 years. How do you protect society from the demented?

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Auditor General : Liberal Party Environmental Programs

Of course, the cynical monkey just won't go away on the timing of the report [Globe & Mail, Auditor set to slam Liberals over Kyoto]:

The Auditor-General's Office is poised to release a scathing assessment of Liberal spending programs linked to the Kyoto climate accord. The report is expected to land Sept. 28, within days of the announcement of the Conservative government's environmental plan.

...

The source said the audit's criticisms include actions at Environment Canada when it was led by former minister St├ęphane Dion. Mr. Dion is currently campaigning for the leadership of the Liberal Party and has made environmental policy a central part of his platform. He was environment minister from July of 2004 until the government's defeat Jan. 23, 2006.

Regardless of the convenient timing of the Auditor General's report and the release of the Conservative Party's environmental "Made-in-Canada" plan, St├ęphane Dion needs to hit the ground running on this and hit it running now, or it's going to make him and the Liberal Party look horrible on environmental issues, more so than it already does - that is if, of course, the Auditor General's report is half as scathing as the article suggests.

The Liberal Party will not be able to own the environment as a credible policy plank anymore if the report, as suggested, shows the Liberal Party incapable of managing programs related to the environment - contrary to the opinions of some. Doubly worrisome to the Liberals, if there is the possibility of another general election coming in the near future, this report will linger fresh in the minds of Canadians like another certain Auditor General's report as an example of its inability to effectively manage government programs, especially in the minds of Canadians wanting strong environmental policy and especially if they choose Mr. Dion as their leader.

More important to Mr. Dion, his bid centres around his record as Environment Minister and his plan for the environment. Could the Liberal Party afford to elect him as leader?

Of course, this is all speculation based upon a report that has yet to be delivered. Depending on what the report says, it'll be interesting to see what happens in the Liberal Party.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Turner-McVety Debate

So, I caught the Garth Turner / Dr. Charles McVety debate on the Michael Coren Show last night. There is one big question I have for the more socially conservative of my readers.

Do you believe that Dr. McVety is really the best individual you have to engage in public discussions about legislating social conservatism? He came across extremely poor last night - his position was reduced to actually really no position at all and baseless ad hominem attacks. Is this the guy you want helping to choose candidates for elections?

Updated: The Garth Turner / Dr. Charles McVety debate is now available via Google.

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Sumatran Rhinoceros

I guess finding a rhino in a jungle is like finding a needle in a haystack [National Geographic, Photo in the News: Rare Rhinoceros Spotted in Borneo Jungle]:
The first ever photo of a male Sumatran rhinoceros in the wild offers concrete proof that the rare animals are living in the Malaysian section of the Southeast Asian island of Borneo, wildlife rangers announced last week.

...

"We have been tracking these animals here in [the Malaysian state of] Sabah for almost ten years now, and although we have seen tracks and signs of the rhino, this is the actual first sighting of a rhino in the wild," M.S. Thayaparan, field program officer for SOS Rhino in Borneo, said in a media release.
More on the critically endangered Sumatran rhinoceros at Wikipedia and more information on SOS Rhino at their website. In Borneo:
SOS Rhino is dedicated to protecting rhinos and their habitat. The Bornean sub-species of the Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis harrissoni) is one of the most endangered rhinos – mainly due to habitat loss and poaching. There may be as few as 30 of this sub-species left in the wild and only two in captivity. With large and varied habitat requirements, the protection of this animal will further the conservation of other fauna and flora in the ecosystem they inhabit.
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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Parkdale - High Park By-Election Turns Nasty ... Literally

Globe & Mail, [Mud flies in west-end by-election]

A fifth candidate, John Turmel, who holds the distinction of running for office more than any other person in Canada, was forced to leave the debate early. "I barfed three times after eating a hot dog," he explained to the audience.

I wish I had been there.

Although, considering the Liberal Party's antics in the riding, it's not hard to see why Mr. Turmel lost his lunch.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Root Causes of Terrorism

My apologies if this is a duplicate. I blame society for my inability to properly post an article on this blog. :)

Thomas Homer-Dixon writes a letter to the Globe & Mail today about researching the root causes of terror [Globe & Mail, Pull up terrorism by the roots, via Google]. Well worth the read.

Thomas discusses some of the pitfalls in current discussions around terrorism. For example, trying to find a root cause of terrorism leads to either criticism that the the analysis is attempting to "blame the victim" or that analysts try to find one root cause based upon a "favoured" root cause, instead of looking for all causes in a particular act.

Thomas concludes that there is a profile of a terrorist emerging based upon research and statistics.
[Research] suggests that participants in terrorism tend to be men in their twenties or thirties who are ferociously angry because of powerful feelings of humiliation. The humiliation can have many sources, but it's likely to arise when relatively well-educated young men are deeply frustrated by a lack of political and economic opportunity and when, at the same time, they strongly identify with a group, society, or culture they perceive as oppressed or exploited. Extremist leaders then inflame and manipulate these feelings of humiliation, partly by defining the "enemy" -- the group or society that's responsible for all problems and that should be the target of attack.

It's not enough to point to one thing, one group, or one society as the cause. What are your thoughts?

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Friday, September 08, 2006

On the Bright Side ...

... at least there were copious amounts of weapons of mass destruction.

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Parkdale - High Park Alternative : David Hutcheon

There's no need to get involved in the old style politicking between the NDP and the Liberal Party in Parkdale-High Park. Vote David Hutcheon, your Progressive Conservative candidate.

David Hutcheon Campaign
Phone: 416-769-3377 Fax: 416-769-8855
E-mail: David@DavidHutcheon.ca
Website: http://www.davidhutcheon.ca/
202 Jane Street, Toronto, Ontario M6S 3Y9 [map]

Highlights from David's bio:

As Toronto City councillor, deputy mayor, and budget chief, Hutcheon delivered on his promise of no tax increases over three consecutive budgets, while streamlining and modernizing the city's public service.

He was active in the creation of two crime prevention programs, Mobile Watch/Surveillance Mobile across Canada, and Park Watch in High Park. His Take Back the Wall graffiti project created jobs for troubled youth.

When homeless people were dying on our winter streets, Hutcheon organized "Operation Cold Snap," an emergency housing program using civilian and military volunteers to provide shelter for the homeless at Moss Park Armoury. As chair of the City of Toronto Homeless Emergency Action Task Force, he ensured that the City implemented the Extreme Cold Weather Alert program to assist the homeless. It is still in use today. Hutcheon was instrumental in turning the surplus Swansea Town Hall into a functioning community centre, and in building the seniors' home next door.

Elections Ontario reminds us that the advance polls in this by-election close today at the following polling stations.

  • Swansea Town Hall Community Centre, 95 Lavinia Avenue, Toronto [map]
  • Holy Family Catholic School, 141 Close Avenue, Toronto West [map]
  • Toronto Baptist Church, 3049 Dundas Street West, Toronto [map]

Advance polls also continue at the returning office from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. up until Friday, September 8 at:

Parkdale-High Park Returning Office
Swansea Shopping Centre
34 Southport Street
Toronto, Ontario M6S 3N3 [map]

Otherwise, get out on September 14th and vote.

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Mid-Life Crisis Wish List : Harley Night Rod Special

SS's recent birthday has reminded me of my own oncoming birthday in a couple of months where I'll be turning 33, which means you guys need to start thinking about my Mid-Life Crisis presents.


To start, I'd like the Harley Davidson Night Rod Special.
The VRSCDX Night Rod Special, which Harley's release calls "the evil twin brother of the Night Rod," is easily distinguished with a wicked style set by an almost totally blacked-out finish. Its dark side is apparent almost everywhere, including the 120-horsepower engine, the hyrdoformed frame, back fork sliders, black triple clamps, swingarm, color-matched black screen visor, brushed Straight-shot Dual exhaust with black end caps, black exhaust shields, black Machined Slotted Disc cast aluminum wheels with orange pin-striping and a black on (you guessed it!) black paint scheme. The seat has been restyled slightly.
It's a proven fact that chicks dig a guy on a black motorcycle. Proooo-ven.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Artificial Climate Change

Listening to CBC Radio World Report this morning, they had a report about scientists looking for a new phrase to replace "global warming" and "climate change" - unfortunately, I couldn't find the 7 am transcript at the site.

The report discussed how the terms "global warming" and "climate change" invite debate in and of themselves, as opposed to highlighting what is meant by them. The report suggests, and I agree with it, that opponents to the science are focused heavily on pointing out how the phrases used to describe these issues are meaningless as a means to make the underlying problem meaningless.

For the term "global warming", scientists note there are places on earth that are indeed warmer, but some that are getting colder and some that are remaining stable. Therefore, opponents indicate that global warming is inadequate a term, so global warming is not an issue.

For the term "climate change", climates change - it's a fact of nature. Therefore, this climate change issue is simply a fact of nature. Since the phrase climate change is meaningless, the underlying problem is meaningless.

I think it's poor form to simply argue against the terminology as a means to deny reality, but some people do get a kick out of it.

I suggest that we tack on the adjective artificial to the existing phrase "climate change". It denotes that the climate change we're currently experiencing is deemed unnatural - that the observations do not coincide with a natural climate change process. I'd go to the Government of Canada's Climate Change website for info on that, but for some reason, I can't find it. It was right there about 9 months ago ...

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Alcohol Kills People, Not Guns

In North Carolina, guns don't kill people - but alcohol? Watch out [Raleigh Chronicle, It's Now Easier To Buy A Shotgun In NC Than A Keg Of Beer]:
In the state's continuing war against the consumption of alcohol, North Carolina Governor Mike Easley signed a new law on Monday that will not only make it harder to buy kegs of beer, but will also diminish the legal rights of defendants to challenge illegally or incorrectly obtained evidence by the state in regards to driving under the influence charges.
According to the article, if you are 21 or over, you need a permit to buy a keg of beer. If you are 18 or over, you can legally buy a shotgun without a permit.

I'm sorry, but that's messed up.

And, literally, consumption of alcohol could kill you when this law goes into effect:
With the new law going into effect, the state has also made it a crime to actually consume alcohol if a citizen is under 21 years of age.

As such, students who seek medical attention for alcohol poisoning could now find themselves charged with the crime of alcohol consumption after they seek treatment at any hospital or other healthcare provider.
Save your life: buy more shotguns.

[H/T, Celestina]

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