Thursday, January 31, 2008

Vote Chris Tindal in Toronto-Centre

While I missed out on trying the coffee at the campaign office opening on Tuesday night (that was my fault), I would like to endorse Chris Tindal for Toronto-Centre. While I don't live in the riding, I hope I can get out and help out on his campaign.

The campaign opening was attended by a lot of supporters with tons of energy. I think Toronto-Centre will be well served by Chris.

There were a few pictures taken during the opening - they're available on Flickr and on Facebook. I made it into one of them, but I'm not saying where ... I'll just say that the expression on my face is less than flattering.

I'd also like to say that I enjoyed chatting with Glenn Hubbers, the Green candidate for Newmarket-Aurora.

My only concern is, the last former Conservative to go campaigning for the Greens eventually signed up with the Liberals ... :-)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Toronto Africentric Schools

If somebody had told me three months ago that I might be, kind of, sort of defending Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, I would have laughed. And, it would have been one of those full on guttural types of laughs too - the kind you get when you've been drinking a lot and somebody falls down in front of you.

National Post, McGuinty ‘hypocritical’ on separate schools: Tory
Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory today called on Premier Dalton McGuinty to explain why he was so opposed to faith-based schools during the provincial election yet seems ready to stand by as the Toronto District School Board moves toward race-based schooling.

...

Mr. McGuinty has stated that while he does not favour the idea of Africentric schools, he would allow it if Toronto trustees decided to pursue the matter.

It's one thing for the province to mandate there needs to be specific schools, as John Tory was campaigning to do with faith-based education. He was maintaining that the province should include funding particularly for faith-based schools.

It's another thing entirely if the school board mandates a particular strategy for the way to teach the provincially-mandated curriculum within its community - in this case, responding to an alarming drop out rate amongst black teens. The school board, I believe, is not going to receive any extra funding outside of what it's normally allotted for providing schooling to the kids of Toronto.

In that way, I do not think Mr. McGuinty is being hypocritical in opposing provincially-mandated funding for more separate schools and not opposing an education strategy proposed by a school board within the existing funding strategy.

I think, however, it's fair to debate the merits of such an initiative and if the trustees do not represent the will of the people of the city, they'll find themselves running against trustees who will rethink the program. I've heard arguments in favour, and I've heard arguments opposed - the ones opposed are similar to the ones made during the faith-based funding debate.

What's my position? I'm not sure, actually - but, I'm not sure I'm in favour of it - I think our kids should learn together - I think our school curriculum should be expanded to include different cultures and religions.

That said, having a specific "culture-centric" school in Toronto is not new. If you were not aware, the First Nations School of Toronto provides Aboriginal-based education within the public system:

First Nations School of Toronto is unique in that Aboriginal values, spirituality, culture and Ojibway language are integrated into the school curriculum. The goal is to ensure that urban Aboriginal children will have the opportunity to learn about their heritage and the traditional Anishinabe cultural perspective while acquiring the skills necessary to survive in today's world.

Our focus is to offer the Ontario Curriculum with an 'overlay' of Native language, tradition and culture, that meets the requirements set by the School Council, the Toronto District School Board and the Ontario Ministry of Education.

I would expect these new schools to be set up similarly.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Unquote

"The decision whether to terminate a pregnancy is essentially a moral decision, a matter of conscience. I do not think there is or can be any dispute about that. The question is: whose conscience? Is the conscience of the woman to be paramount or the conscience of the state? I believe, for the reasons I gave in discussing the right to liberty, that in a free and democratic society it must be the conscience of the individual."

- Bertha Wilson, Puisne Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada

It's Time to Try Something New

To start, I'm planning on attending Chris Tindal's campaign office opening tomorrow.

The office is at 538 Parliament St (map), about halfway between Carlton and Wellesley. There's a Facebook event set up for it too.

What will it mean long term? Don't know at this point. I'll talk to some Greens about it.

Have to start somewhere.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

My Band

Found this on Mah Blog while stumbling around.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

2. http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

3. http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/
The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4. Use your graphics program of choice to throw them together.

5. http://www.livejournal.com/random.bml
Use the subtitle of the journal you go to. This will be your #1 hit single from the album. In order to view the subtitle you have to click on the "info" link, and the subtitle will be the italicized text under the title (bold text), which is under the user name. If the subtitle is in a different language and you don't care to use it, or if its not there, you just click the link again and you'll find one eventually.

Here's mine.


Band: Typhoon Wukong
Album: Little Later in Life
#1 Single: "Through Everything Else We Will Survive"

My band sounds like an '80's metal ballad band. I might revisit this later to see what the next result is.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Not That I'm Keeping Count, but ...

According to my calculations, it's been almost 100 days since the Ontario government last dealt with electoral reform.

Is it coincidental that there is no longer an Ontario Minister of Democratic Renewal? Not even a Parliamentary Assistant? Is democratic renewal not a priority of this Liberal government?

Is Ontario waiting for someone else to make the right move?

They Can't Take the Beatings

I wonder if every time I buy something at ChaptersIndigoColes, the cashiers run through the same conversation in their minds.

Cashier: Do you have a value rewards card?

Girl: No.

Cashier: Would you like to sign up for a value rewards card?

Girl: No, thank you.

Cashier: Sorry, we have to ask or they take us out back and beat us.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Canadian Blog Awards - Voting Open

I am fighting some kind of demon cold right now, so I apologize for the light posting.

Voting has begun for the Canadian Blog Awards. This blog has been nominated for:
Voting closes January 21, 11:59 PM - and you can only vote once.

I'll have some endorsements up later this week.

Monday, January 07, 2008

It's 2004 All Over Again, Almost

I do not know if the following post will make much sense because I am still relying on a very detailed and still highly confidential patented thought process.

I was taking a look at the results of the Harris/Decima survey, reported by the Canadian Press. In it, it says that in a hypothetical Parliament, the seat breakdown representing current Canadian preferences goes as follows:
Liberal — 111 seats
Conservative — 95 seats
NDP — 46 seats
Bloc — 31 seats
Green — 25 seats

If you take the results of the 2004 general election and apply the popular vote in a proportional manner, you get the following breakdown.

Liberal — 113 seats
Conservative — 91 seats
NDP — 48 seats
Bloc — 38 seats
Green — 13 seats

What's striking is that these poll results nearly match the government Canadians voted for in 2004 as opposed to the government they elected in 2004. For supporters of electoral reform, this seems a clear indication that Canadians want their votes to truly count.

Now, just to make sure I didn't have a fluke, the results of the 2006 general election applied proportionally come out differently, but similar in one respect.

Conservative — 112 seats
Liberal — 93 seats
NDP — 54 seats
Bloc — 32 seats
Green — 12 seats

For Liberal supporters right now, it could be argued that Canadians may have changed their mind about electing a minority Stephen Harper Conservative government and may have preferred another minority Paul Martin Liberal government, since they've gone back to almost exactly the same vote totals as 2004.

But, as the results of the 2006 election show, it's more likely they want about 110-115 seats for the governing party - Liberals or Conservatives - with the opposition party at about 90 - 95. They also want the NDP to hold the balance of power, and they want Green politicians in parliament.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Electoral Compass USA

According to the Electoral Compass, I'm closest to Barack Obama and furthest from Fred Thompson. I am totally not getting a Conservative Senate appointment now.

Mount Tempo - Osaka, Japan

We were watching The Amazing Race tonight and the contestants travelled to Osaka, Japan. One of the stops that they had to stop at was Mount Tempo, Japan's smallest mountain.

According to the information I've gleaned from the internets, it says the mountain is 4.53 metres (14.9 feet) tall.

It got me thinking about what really constitutes a mountain. I mean, if I'm in the middle of the flattest piece of land, couldn't I say that I'm on the smallest mountain?

Wikipedia
:
A mountain is a landform that extends above the surrounding terrain in a limited area. A mountain is generally steeper than a hill, but there is no universally accepted standard definition for the height of a mountain or a hill although a mountain usually has an identifiable summit.
Merriam-Webster:
[A] landmass that projects conspicuously above its surroundings and is higher than a hill.
Britannica:
[L]andform that rises prominently above its surroundings, generally exhibiting steep slopes, a relatively confined summit area, and considerable local relief. Mountains generally are understood to be larger than hills, but the term has no standardized geological meaning. Very rarely do mountains occur individually. In most cases, they are found in elongated ranges…
Based upon these three definitions, I dispute Mount Tempozan's "mountain" status as it fails the rising prominently above its surroundings smell test.

I also realize I used an entire post to dispute the legitimacy of a fairly meaningless tourist attraction.

On an unrelated note, my backyard constitutes Canada's smallest grassland. We haven't decided what the admission is.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Steroids in Baseball

If any of these players make it into the Hall of Fame before Pete Rose, it would be a shame.

CBC, Clemens, Gagne named in baseball drug report:

A star-studded roster of players — including Canadian reliever Eric Gagné and former Blue Jays pitcher Roger Clemens — were linked to steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in the long-awaited Mitchell report released Thursday.

All-time home-run king Barry Bonds, already under indictment on charges of lying to a federal grand jury about steroids, also showed up, as did Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte, Astros shortstop Miguel Tejada and Tigers outfielder Gary Sheffield, among many others.

The report culminated a 20-month investigation by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, hired by baseball commissioner Bud Selig to examine the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport.

Updated: Roger Clemens is apparently suing his trainer for defamation [CBC, Roger Clemens sues ex-trainer for defamation: report]:

"All of McNamee's accusations are false and defamatory per se," the lawsuit said, according to the Chronicle. "They injured [Roger] Clemens's reputation and exposed him to public hatred, contempt, ridicule and financial injury. McNamee made the allegations with actual malice, knowing they were false."

It will be interesting to see how the others who were named react.

It makes being a baseball fan exceedingly difficult.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Likely a Rhetorical Question

Why would the Ontario Progressive Conservatives go to Stephen Harper for campaign advice when there is another Canadian Conservative politician doing much better?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Laundry

Have you ever been doing laundry and forgot, you know, to put the laundry in the washing machine and remember only when it's full of soapy water?

Maybe I should stop worrying about people drinking chocolate milk and just remember how laundry works.

Yuppies and Chocolate Milk

First, before I go on this rant, let me tell you about the good that is chocolate milk. The definition of chocolate milk, according to Wikipedia, goes as follows:

Chocolate milk is a sweetened, cocoa-flavored milk drink. It can be purchased pre-mixed or made at home with either cocoa powder and a sweetener (such as sugar), or with melted chocolate, chocolate syrup, or chocolate milk mix. Other ingredients, such as starch, salt, carrageenan, vanilla, or artificial flavoring, may be added. Chocolate milk should be refrigerated like plain milk.

Plus, according to the dairy industry, it's just as good for you as white milk, and a boost for nutrition - adult and kids alike.

All and all, not a bad choice for an adult beverage. It's tasty, it's healthy - plus it's sweet.

But, what I don't get is people, particularly yuppies, walking around proud of their cartons of chocolate milk. Openly gesturing that they are drinking chocolate milk, wiping their lips off on their sleeves ...

Today, I saw a guy walking around taking big chugs out of his big carton of chocolate milk, smacking his lips, and going "ahhh". He was alone and walking down a shopping concourse. This is what I call the chocolate milk swagger. It looked like what you see runners do after they've run a big marathon. I'm not sure what kind of athletic event requires the chugging of chocolate milk, though.

He's not the first I've seen do this either.

It's an epidemic. Chocolate milk is a big hit with the yuppies, I get that. It's good for you and tastes great, I get that too.

There is, however, no need for the swagger.

It's Alive!

Wow, I haven't blogged here since April 2007. That's wacky.

I'm going to work on cleaning up the template, and replacing the links on the right. I'm going to try to focus random postings here and there. I'm in the mood to return to blogging.

Updated: While I'm at it, I'm going to clean up the labelling. I'm almost certain I don't need a "Britney Spears" label. Or, maybe I do ... Who's kidding who.

Updated x 2: Apparently the blog header does not show up on the individual post pages.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year Resolution

A long time ago, I did one of those political quizzes on the internets that told me I'm an old school Democrat. Of course, I can't find that post.

Here's a quote from Harry Truman that I grabbed from the List Universe.
I do not understand a mind which sees a gracious beneficence in spending money to slay and maim human beings in almost unimaginable numbers and deprecates the expenditure of a smaller sum to patch up the ills of mankind.

One of my New Year's resolutions is to try to blog more. Seems weird, but I do enjoy blogging.

New Year Factoid

Happy New Year everyone, and a belated Merry Christmas.

I'd just like to point out that as of today, for the first time in about 15 years, I am not a member of a provincial or federal Conservative Party. That's right - I'm 100% Conservative-free.

I wonder what shenanigans I'll get up to? I wonder if letting all my memberships lapse I'm emboldening the evil doers? I wonder if the terrorists have officially won?

Also, I can't figure out why the kids keep calling Loyola Hearn.