Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Makes You Go Hmmm....

I'm not sure what's funnier.

The fact that Rick Mercer has set up a "Stay, Fortier, Stay" petition ...

Dear Prime Minister:

We, the undersigned, support your conviction that The Honourable Michael Fortier remain an unelected Cabinet Minister and retain his Senate seat until such time as you deem fit.

Sincerely,
The Undersigned

... or that people are signing it.

He said FROM THE START that he would resign and run ONLY AT THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTION. Plus Montreal needs somebody in cabinet. People should understand the situation before becoming cynical.

CBC sucks

I can't believe we are funding a raging communist like Rick Mercer with our tax dollars. Mr. Harper, it's time to pull the plug on the CBC!

And the unintentional irony quote goes ...

Because of Fortier and Emerson, Harper has a government that is represented nationally... that's a lot better than what those grits could pull off.

Minus the fact that the Liberal Party actually did elect representation nationally, minus the fact that "unelected senators" are supposed to be bad, and minus the whole David Emerson thing.

Those three "facts" mean nothing when Canadians don't understand the situation. Canadians are getting cynical for the wrong reasons.

How come nobody talks about Gomery any more, for instance, instead of Fortier?

Oh wait. See, now I'm being cynical for the wrong reasons.

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Just Saying

Whoever invented moving the clocks for Daylight saving time must not have had a 4 year old and a 9 month old.

Just saying.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Doomed to Repeat

In case you forgot.

From the London Free Press, Grits still seek candidate:

Reached by The Free Press, [Geoff] Donald said he couldn't comment. But he denied any attempt to muzzle [London North-Centre Conservative MP Dianne] Haskett and said he'd been sent by party headquarters to help her campaign.

Muzzled? Someone sent from headquarters to help campaign?

Doesn't that sound like somebody else [Election Prediction, Ajax-Pickering]?

In response to M.T., the fact that Rondo Thomas has not showed up to all 3 debates this week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) and doubt he will show up next Tuesday as well, goes far beyond his position on SSM. You have convictions, you face the music and you show up to defend and debate them and if it is getting to hot, then you get out of the kitchen!

...

It's looking worse and worse for Rondo Thomas. The party has brought in a campaign manager from Ottawa to keep him under control.

Purely coincidental, I'm sure.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

All Your Frequencies Belong to Us

I kind of wondered how long before this happened [Baltimore Sun, Public radio seeks recall of FM devices used in cars]:
Citing widespread interference on broadcast frequencies used by its member stations, National Public Radio has asked the Federal Communications Commission to order recalls of millions of FM modulators that drivers use to play satellite radios and iPods through their car stereos.

A field study by NPR Labs found that nearly 40 percent of those devices have signal strengths that exceed FCC limits, enabling them to break into FM broadcasts in nearby cars with unwanted programming. A separate investigation by the National Association of Broadcasters found that more than 75 percent of the devices it tested violated the power limits.
I'm a big fan of my Sirius satellite radio, but I did notice that when I use the FM transmitter, the FM transmission signal went quite a distance.

For an anecdotal account, here's my own little experiment I conducted. I have the
Sirius Sportster Replay and I currently transmit on 87.9 FM, which around here has no associated radio station. I left my receiver docked at home, and turned it on. I then got in my car, and drove a few blocks away. The signal remained loud and clear. My neighbourhood is pretty densely packed too, so do the math on figuring out how many houses I'd be broadcasting to.

Now, I broadcast on 87.9, but if I selected say 99.1 (the CBC Radio Toronto station), I wonder what kind of chaos that would cause? Andy Barrie is suddenly replaced by Howard Stern. Mmm ... :)

Administrivia

This blog is no longer associated with the Blogging Tories, probably to the relief of some [ ;-) ].

As to the "why", while I still consider myself a "small-b" blogging Tory, I don't think I can necessarily vocally support the Conservative Party of Canada for a number of reasons, and would like to promote progressive conservative polices irregardless of the political party. I find myself questioning decisions and policies more often than not; a non-stop whine-a-thon, I guess, if you're of an opposite point of view.

In short, I don't think the Conservative Party is my federal political home any more. Maybe it will be again, one day.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

If You Don't Learn From History

Quote of the day.

Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. ...Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to anger. It works the same in any country.

- Hermann Wilhelm Göring

Ontario Lottery Concerns

Speculation abounds that lottery retailers in Ontario have been cashing in tickets "on behalf" of the rightful winners [CBC, Ontario lotto officials defend security as report raises questions]:

After an investigation by the CBC's The Fifth Estate alleged that a disproportionate number of clerks and retailers win large lotteries in Ontario, the province's gaming corporation has defended its security practices.

"It is critical to note that when a retailer/clerk wins a major prize, [Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation] conducts an investigation 100 per cent of the time," said a statement released Wednesday.

...

A statistician with the University of Toronto called [the number of lottery retailers winning the lottery a] statistical anomaly, saying there is a "one in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion" chance of that many retailers winning. Dr. Jeffrey Rosenthal said the number of wins should be closer to 57.

I don't know if this is too simple a solution, but what if we simply made those individuals who sell lottery tickets ineligible for the prizes? In other words, if you are licensed to sell lottery products in the province of Ontario and you are currently employed by a retailer that sells lottery products in the province of Ontario, then you are ineligible to win a prize from an Ontario lottery product.

No security concerns. No audit concerns. No investigations needed.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Quick Thought Experiment : Criminal Motivation

Is it safe to assume, that if you oppose a recent Ontario court ruling that ruled a section of the Anti-Terrorism Act unconstitutional ...

Ontario Superior Court Justice Douglas Rutherford ruled today that a clause that deals with religious, political or ideological motivation - a chief part of the Act’s definition of terrorism - violates Section 2 of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, guaranteeing freedoms of religion, thought and belief.

... that you do so, not because of the judge's decision in and of itself, but because it takes away an opportunity to lay blame at the feet of a group with which you oppose? That is, prior to this ruling, if someone in Canada is convicted of being a terrorist, then they have to have had a political, religious, or ideological motivation to do so. By extension, if you define the act by the motivation, then the motivation itself will be perceived to be the crime - not the crime itself.

I'm not sure how that line of thinking can be supported.

After this ruling, if an alleged terrorist is found guilty of committing a terrorist act, it will be done without additional add-on that the alleged did it for "religious, political or ideological motivation". That motivation will come into play certainly at a sentencing, if the alleged is found guilty, but it's no longer a part of the crime committed nor the definition of the crime.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Understanding Political Expediency

I understand political expediency, but the last time I looked, Canada was not on the ballot for the November 7th election.

It may be smart election-year politics to thump your chest and constantly criticize your friend and your No. 1 trading partner. But it is a slippery slope, and all of us should hope that it doesn't have a long-term impact on the relationship.

Paraphrased, of course.

[H/T, Canadian Cerberus]

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Scott Made a Funny

Scott Feschuk cracks me up.

Stephen Harper has called two byelections, including one in Quebec - but he's not forcing Michel Fortier to run, even though the unelected Fortier sits in cabinet and oversees a government department. The Prime Minister said not to worry, and reiterated his plan to have Fortier face voters by 2050.

Although, you have to admit, the Liberal Party, over the last 13 years, has done nothing to get Michael Fortier to run either. In fact, the United States has a better record of getting Michael Fortier to run then we do.

Okay, I'll stop.

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Federal Appointments to the Toronto Port Authority, Part 4

Good news for federal civil servants and good news for Porter Airlines [CNW, Porter Airlines signs airfare discount agreement with Government of Canada]:

Porter Airlines and the Government of Canada have signed an agreement offering federal employees increased choice and flexibility when flying between Toronto and Ottawa. Porter is the first airline to sign such an agreement prior to start-up. The agreement is in support of the government's Shared Travel Services Initiative (STSI), part of Public Works and Government Services Canada.

This in and of itself is not unusual. Corporations will often cut deals with frequent or high volume users of their products or services. It's especially good for Porter Airlines, considering it hasn't even started operations yet. Extra especially good since Transport Canada is currently reviewing the status of the airport and the Toronto Port Authority.

From Transport Canada on October 17 [Minister Cannon Receives Report on the Toronto Port Authority]:

The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, today announced that he has received the report on the Toronto Port Authority, prepared by Mr. Roger Tasse. The report deals with issues associated with the Toronto Port Authority and the transportation links to the Toronto City Centre Airport.

...

Mr. Tasse was appointed on May 1, 2006, to review decisions and issues associated with the Toronto Port Authority and the transportation links to the Toronto City Centre Airport. The review was called to provide the Government of Canada with an independent view of decisions, actions and transactions made concerning proposals for the link to and the operation of the airport.

Boy, wouldn't that be funny if Minister Cannon found impropriety with the operation of the airport or authority. Wouldn't it? It sure would put into question the government's deal with Porter, and all those appointments to its board.

Wink wink.

Are we even trying anymore, or has that just gone out the window?

[H/T, Torontoist]

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Clean Air Act

I understand the importance of being a team player.

I can easily declare that the Clean Air Act is a better piece of legislation protecting the environment than anything a Green Party MP has ever tabled in the House of Commons.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Garth Turner Suspended from Tory Caucus, The Day After

Well, I slept on it, and, no sir, I still don't like it.

John Ibbitson in today's Globe & Mail shakes his head as much as I do over it - his take is from the point of view of a lack in strategic foresight in the decision to drop Garth Turner from caucus [Globe & Mail, MP's expulsion dark news for Harper, via Google]:

Regardless of the reason, the expulsion says nothing good about the party or the Prime Minister. Mr. Turner is a rare phenomenon: a conservative politician popular among middle-class suburban voters outside Toronto, that most precious of political constituencies, and one generally hostile to Harper Conservatives. They liked Mr. Turner's passion for lowering taxes and streamlining government, but equally his commitment to the environment and his socially progressive views. Mr. Turner was a Tory metrosexual, and the party needs all of them it can get.

I still don't know what to think, honestly.

As I've said previously, Garth Turner was a credit to the Conservative Party, and I don't think the party's fortunes are going to improve with his removal.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Garth Turner Suspended from Tory Caucus

As a vocal supporter of Garth Turner, I can't say I'm entirely pleased by the Ontario caucus decision to unanimously vote for his removal from the Conservative Party. In fact, I think it stinks.

On the one hand, you have seemingly questionable tactics used to protect sitting incumbents for whatever reason.

But, on the other hand ...

Well, there really is no other hand.

I'm going to have to think on this a little bit.

Update: Garth's blog has a post up [Garth.ca, Holy Smokes!] to talk about his expulsion from the Conservative caucus.

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Sphinctersayswhat?

If I need a dictionary for a dictionary's word of the day, then I don't really need the word of the day.

On October 12, I received the following from the
Merriam-Webster Word of the Day:

gnomic \NOH-mik\ adjective

*1 : characterized by aphorism
2 : given to the composition of aphoristic writing

Example sentence:
The poet Emily Dickinson, who wrote "Tell all the Truth but tell it slant," is known for her highly individualistic, gnomic style.

Did you know?
A gnome is an aphorism — that is, an observation or sentiment reduced to the form of a saying. Gnomes are sometimes couched in metaphorical or figurative language, they are often quite clever, and they are always concise. We borrowed the word "gnome" in the 16th century from the Greeks, who based their "gnome" on the verb "gign?skein," meaning "to know." (That other "gnome" — the dwarf of folklore — comes from New Latin and is unrelated to today's word.) We began using "gnomic," the adjective form of "gnome," in the early 19th century. It describes a style of writing (or sometimes speech) characterized by pithy phrases, which are often terse to the point of mysteriousness.

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.
OH ... APHORISM. Well, duh. And of course, "it describes a style of writing characterized by pithy phrases, which are often terse to the point of mysterious."

Maybe this word of the day was meant to be ironically gnomic?

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Boooooooooo!

From StormLarge.com:
Sorry kids , though I STILL haven't gotten official word from the RSSN camp , it seems the HB , Magni and myself have been unceremoniously bumped off the tour for financial reasons . They SAY it's financial , but I know what REALLY went down .... I clearly haven't slept with enough people . I thought I got all of em' but a few were kinda squirrely and escaped my lusty grip . DANG IT !!

Dave Navarro called me to get the scoop , even HE didn't know what the heck was going on . (Note to self: Don't sleep with Dave Navarro , he isn't in the loop ... )

I , personally, intend to call everyone I slept with , (who gave me real names and numbers) and get to the bottom of it all . If you bought tickets just to see me or Magni or the HB ... my apologies . We may still do something independantly of RSSN or in conjunction with , as we all still have deep affection and respect for one another ... plus, I haven't slept with ANY of those guys ... so we're still cool .
[H/T, Reality Blurred]

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Federal Subsidy Available to All Political Parties

Just read via Jim Harris' blog, that there has been a court decision to remove the 2% threshold to receive a federal subsidy for total votes received in a Canadian election. Previously, if a political party received at least 2% of the vote nationally, they would be entitled to a subsidy provided by the Canadian government - $1.75 per vote annually.

While I agree with the fairness of the recent court decision:

On October 12, 2006, Ontario Superior Court Judge Ted Matlow declared as unconstitutional, the 2% threshold in the Canada Elections Act, required to receive the $1.75 per vote per year funding. In the decision, Judge Matlow wrote that the threshold violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The judge ordered the payments retroactive to January 1, 2004 to all parties that had not met the threshold as of January 1, 2004 when the new law took effect.

I ask again, what do political parties do to receive public funds?

According to Judge Matlow [via Jim Harris' blog]:

Providing public funds to parties based on the number of votes received encourages individual voters to participate in elections. Having a threshold for providing electoral finances tells potential voters for candidates of smaller parties that their vote will not result in a subsidy of the parties of their choice. The quality and vigour of Canadian democracy suffers because such a threshold effectively discourages individuals who do not support one of the larger parties from participating in the electoral process.

To Judge Matlow's argument here, I don't think people are voting based upon the fact that the political parties they are voting for are going to receive federal funding. I think it will certainly encourage the faithful base of the smaller parties to continue the fight to a certain point, but I don't think it's going to encourage more broad-based support for the electoral process.

Further [Globe & Mail, Electoral-law edict boosts small parties]:

He said that having an eligibility threshold "perverts" democracy by forcing small parties to make a tactical decision whether to target certain ridings in order to reach the percentage of the total vote they need to trigger the payments.

Which is worse? A political party targeting a riding they have a chance of winning or getting more of a message out, or one that just runs to gain federal funding for a "non-deliverable" political message?

But, I do agree with the fairness of the decision. If Canadian political parties receive a federal subsidy, then all political parties should receive a subsidy regardless of their overall support nationally.

Tracy Parsons, leader of the Progressive Canadian Party, agrees with me [from the same Globe article]:

"We're thrilled," said Tracy Parsons, leader of the Progressive Canadian Party. "Another piece of democracy has been served. I can't say that I'm 100-per-cent in favour of tax dollars being used to fund political parties, but I'm certainly not in favour of them funding only select parties."

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bad Poll

According to a Toronto Star / EKOS poll, Bob Rae is the public's favourite to lead the Liberal Party of Canada.

The 1,211 Canadians polled between Oct. 10-12 gave Rae 26 per cent of the public vote while Ignatieff received 21 per cent. Former Ontario education minister Gerard Kennedy and Quebec MP Stephane Dion both received 12 per cent of the vote.

But...
... the poll also suggests that Canadians think Ignatieff will have a better chance of winning in the next federal election.

On that question, he captured 30 per cent of the public vote while Rae garnered 26 per cent. Kennedy received 10 per cent of the vote while Dion received 9 per cent.

So, in short, Canadians want Bob Rae to lead the Liberal Party, but are more likely to vote Liberal if Michael Ignatieff is leader.

More ice for your drink? :-)

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Don't Ask Me

Google "weak fart" and see what you get.

Again, don't ask me.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Psst ...

This is a memo to the Liberal Party leadership candidates.

I caught the Rick Mercer Report last night, and all I can say is that Bob Rae looked really good.

You guys better think about that invite Rick sent you.

PS. Joe, don't worry. I'm sure Rick will invite you too. Keep your chin up, and all that.

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Seinfeld Moment : Airport Security

Only because I'm dumb and I like to ask ridiculous questions, but according to How Stuff Works (quoting the US Department of Homeland Security):
730 million people travel on passenger jets every year, while more than 700 million pieces of their baggage are screened for explosives and other dangerous items.
Does that mean at least 30 million people are travelling without any baggage, or is it that at least 30 million pieces of baggage are not screened for dangerous items? Why aren't we screening "at least 730 million pieces of baggage"? Are there really 30 million people travelling each year with no baggage?

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Thought Experiment : Advocacy vs Research

If women's groups are not allowed to use public funds to do research on issues, what do political parties do to deserve public funds [CTV Politics Blog, Political parties get their cheques]:?

For the record, then, we note today that Elections Canada has sent out the "allowances" to registered political parties which qualify for support and here's how much each party received:

  • Conservative Party of Canada: $2,515,737
  • Liberal Party of Canada: $2,096,926
  • New Democratic Party of Canada: $1,212,255
  • Bloc Quebecois: $727,092
  • Green Party of Canada: $310,867

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Monday, October 02, 2006

I Like the Food Network

Wow. It's been a long time since I posted something here, so, the pressure is on, I guess.

I've noticed recently that I'm addicted to the
Food Network. Now, I don't know if that's a bad thing, necessarily, but if you had have asked me about a couple of months ago if I'd want the Food Network as part of my cable lineup, I would have said no.

It's not even that I religiously follow any of the shows.

It started innocently enough - nothing else on and just flicking around. Suddenly there is a show about
beer, or pie, or grilling some huge animal carcass. Then there's that show with that English dude yelling at restaurant managers to get their act together or their restaurant will fail.

I like shows where either there's beer, pie, animal carcasses, or lots of ignorant people getting yelled at. That's a good time and a can't miss formula for good television.

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

5 Things Feminism Has Done for Me

I know this post is going to generate the Inevitable Hate MailTM that a number of my posts have generated from a certain segment of the population. In support for Women's History Month in Canada, I'm presenting my post on the "Feminism" meme.

To begin, this Conservative unequivocally supports Status of Women Canada, and I'm troubled at the attempts to marginalize this agency.

What is the Status of Women Canada?

Status of Women Canada (SWC) is the federal government agency which promotes gender equality, and the full participation of women in the economic, social, cultural and political life of the country. SWC focuses its work in three areas: improving women's economic autonomy and well-being, eliminating systemic violence against women and children, and advancing women's human rights.

There is a meme at Progressive Bloggers to list the 5 things feminism has done for the blogger. Here are mine.

1) Feminism has taught me tolerance. It's easy to have an opinion, but it's much harder to believe it when you know you're wrong.

There is, however, a very real danger that this progress has led many people to think that we have truly achieved equality for women in Canada. Much as we would like it to be so, it is simply not the case. In 2005, only one in every five Members of Parliament is a woman. The same holds true, in general, across the legislatures of the provinces and territories. Girls are the victims of more than four out of five cases of sexual assault on minors. Four out of five one-parent families are headed by women. The employment income gap between male and female university graduates who work full time has widened. Women working full time still earn only 71 cents for every dollar that men make. Women do the large majority of unpaid work in Canada.

2) Feminism has given us a tremendous history.

3) Feminism has given us a tremendous future.

4) Feminism has shown us the true value of liberty for everyone, and why liberty is a fight worth fighting.

5) Feminism has shown us we all have a long way to go, to protect liberty already won.

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