Archive for March, 2007

Media A Bunch of Conservatives When It’s Their Voice Being Silenced

March 17th, 2007
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Gerry Nicholls of the NCC has a post from yesterday pointing out the media are upset about the Supreme Court ruling on the Election Blackout Law this past week. He points to articles in Sun media, the Globe and Mail and the Post – The Star seems to be silent on the issue.

The interesting thing is, as soon as government legislation that negatively affects the media comes up they, and the Globe very specifically, suddenly become a bunch of conservatives screaming for the freedom to act as they see fit. Why, it needs asking, are they so able to handle freedom responsibly, when the rest of us seem so incapable of this simple task?


Happy St. Patrick’s Day

March 17th, 2007
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I kind of said it all last year, so this year, I’ll do a pictorial:

First for true St Patrick’s spirit drink this not this.
And if you happen to meet a wee fella, looks like this:
Take him to a place like this

And maybe he’ll dip into his for ya.
Happy and Safe St. Patrick’s Day everybody.


Saturday Fluffernutter: Busted on the Sly; Simon Cowell in Dreamingh Mode; RIP Brad Delp.

March 17th, 2007

All the Fluffy news about the worlds biggest nuts.

Gettin’ Bigger on the Sly – Rocky, Sylvester Stallone has been charged in Australia with importing steroids a banned substance. Sly was bagged at the airport with several vials of the steroid hormone known as hGH (human growth hormone). Conviction brings a maximum $22,000 fine, chump change to a Hollywood star. No word on whether he loses the heavyweight belt, or whether Mason ‘The Line’ Dixon will be re-crowned champ.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame now Inducts Turntablists? – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this week inducted Grandmaster Flash, proving for all that it is no longer the Rock and Roll hall of Fame, it’s the Sold a Lot of Records Hall of Fame. Bad enough they previously inducted Johnny Cash or Al Green, two non-rockers if ever they existed; bad enough that Blondie, Michael Jackson, or Ritchie Valens are considered either high quality enough, or too have had a career enough. But when you start inducting people who list “turntable” on their resume under instruments played, you have crossed over into doesn’t even resemble rock and roll territory. It’s all a bit like putting Bill Buckner in the hockey hall of fame: he wasn’t that good of a baseball player, but at least that was his sport.

Coalminers Father Takes on Nortthern BankersLevon Helm is suing over the use of The Bands The Weight in a BBDO Worldwide commercial. I bring it up in case some of you don’t know, Levon has had some health and financial concerns the past few years, and he put on monthly Rambles out at his barn in Woodstock NY:

Levon invites you to his home studio in Woodstock, N.Y. The first thing you’ll notice, if you get there early enough, is the natural beauty of your surroundings. His property is set in the Catskill Mountains with a large lake not too far from the house, surrounded by lush, thick forest. There’s a serenity and peacefulness to the scene that’s contrasted later in the evening by music that will rock your soul, knock your socks off and leave you grinning from ear to ear.

Inside “The Barn,” which is really a large recording studio attached to Levon’s home, you’ll see a stage, a cozy fireplace and plenty of seating. You will be pleased to realize there are no ‘bad seats.’

Once the show starts, get ready! Levon Helm and his fellow musicians play with such joy, energy and enthusiasm, you will be finding it very hard to sit still in your seat. The show is not the usual hour and a half that most entertainers provide at a concert. It usually lasts into the wee hours of the morning and you can stay as long as you like. Often, in between sets, Levon will greet his guests and stop to talk to as many people as he can

It has been on mine, and a few buddies lists for a few years now, but it is pricey. Hope Levon has some success in this suit, especially as the company involved used Levon singing the song without ever asking. I don’t know the law, but it ain’t right none the less.

Simon Cowell thinks he’s John Lennon – I’ll let this entirely useless tool speak for himself:

“I sell more records than Bruce Springsteen. In the last five years, I’ve probably sold over 100 million records. If [Springsteen] got 100 [million dollars], I should have got 500,”

“I signed the biggest artist on the planet and it’s called ‘Idol’ because every single ‘Idol’ winner is now signed through Sony BMG,” says Cowell. “

Where to start? Lets see, Springsteen, you great heaving twit, has written, sung, played on and performed songs that have proven over 30 years to be great. You exploit poor misguided fools who think they have big league stuff. Springsteen is an artist, who has honed his craft over the years, you peddle other peoples bad pop. Your fifteen minutes are up – go away!

Trudie Styler Thinks She’s David Suzuki – Speaking of useless twits, Mrs. Sting, Trudie Styler, is one of those eco-freaks who speaks haughtily about what the rest of us should do, then takes a helicopter to visit a friend 80 miles away. All these celebs, including the Gore himself, have proven to be completely hypocritical on this issue, so can we start ignoring what they say about anything not related to their work yet? Please.

Oh, and what is Trudie Styler’s work?

Tax Rap for Trumpeter – Trumpeter Phil Driscol, who has worked with Joe Cocker, Stephen Stills and Blood Sweat and Tears, as well as released 30 albums of gospel and patriotic music, has started serving a one year sentence in Tennessee for tax evasion. Driscol has appealed his conviction, but was denied motion to await sentencing pending appeal.

And Baby Makes er…6… 7…? – Angelina Jolie has adopted a Vietnamese baby. Yaa, begin the 21 gun salute, start up the band, release the hounds, it’s time to celebrate.

Free Movie Passes from Universal – Universal Movies is giving away tickets to their upcoming movie Peaceful Warrior. The theory is that the critically successful gymnastics sob-along will garner word of mouth, enhancing it’s in theatre time. To me though, it just makes me think it must not be worth spending $10 to go see.

Brad Delp 1951 – 2007Condolences to the family of Boston’s lead singer Brad Delp, who committed suicide last Friday. Delp had paper clipped a note to his shirt, that said simply: “Mr. Brad Delp. J’ai une ame solitaire. I am a lonely soul.” I note the following statements from band mates on their websites:

It is with tremendous sorrow that I report the death of my friend, musical collaborator and brother in-law, Brad Delp. His soaring, seemingly effortless vocals graced millions of Boston records as well as the numerous musical projects that we did together. He will be sorely missed by his many friends and his family. Anyone who met Brad knows he was the sweetest, kindest person you could have known. I hope he can rest in peace.

I will make every effort to answer the many e-mails of condolences I have received.

~ Barry Goudreau

As you all know by now, BOSTON’S lead singer, Brad Delp, was found dead in his home on Friday, March 9th 2007. Plans for live BOSTON performances this summer have, of course, been cancelled.

My heart goes out to his wonderful fiance Pamela, his two children and other family members, his close friends and band mates, and to the millions of people whose lives were made a little brighter by the sound of his voice. He will be dearly missed.

Tom Scholz

He may have been a lonely soul but, as Steve Earl sang, he was “damned sure not suffering from a lack of love.” RIP Brad Delp.


T-D Report: Market Based Solutions to Protect the Economy

March 16th, 2007
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Last week the T-D bank released an economic report called Market Based Solutions to Protect the Economy. The Financial Post reported on it last at the time, and erroneously concluded that T-D was in favour of a carbon tax. Here’s portion of the conclusion:

Although sensible environmental policy regimes will require elements of almost everything we’ve discussed, those that change the price structure of pollution to the users are most effective in changing consumer behaviour towards emissions

Note the point that policy “will require elements of almost everything we’ve discussed.” That covers a fair bit of ground, including command and control (i.e. targets), moral suasion (advertising, don’t litter campaigns, the million ton challenge), taxes, subsidies and cap and trade. Canada is currently involved in each element to a degree, and the question remains which is the most effective down the road.

T-D does, in fact conclude that the most efficient method is through tax policy. They do note however, that:

Cap-and-trade systems are not easy to implement, but once up-and-running they have proven benefits. The fundamental appeal of a cap-and-trade system is that it aligns the incentives of firms with the objective of reducing GHG emissions.

The T-D banks report does saying “’tax-tilting’ to the polluter can endogenously achieve a number of environmental proposals with less financial costs to society.” However, it does ultimately conclude that

…governments should take a holistic approach, coordinating policy approaches to capitalize on the relevant strengths of each.

It needs to be said, both here and anytime this issue comes up, that any form of carbon-tax must be revenue neutral. This is what this report means when it refers to tax-shifting, shifting the tax burden from income, as an example, to carbon use. This report at no time advocates a straight up carbon-tax. It does suggest that if pollution reduction is your goal, tax-shifting and carbon market are the best solutions.


CFRB in Toronto – Just Another Liberal Media Outlet

March 16th, 2007
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According to Dr. Roys Thoughts CFRB radio in Toronto is giving former President of theLiberal Party of Canada Stephen LeDrew his own show:

Newstalk 1010 CFRB is pleased to announce that Stephen LeDrew will host his own talk show Sunday mornings 11am to noon starting this Sunday. Stephen will debate the big issues of the day with the newsmakers and take your calls. The new show will be called Issues with Stephen LeDrew.

This is fine and as some people have noted at Dr. Roy’s comments, this could be a good show. LeDrew is an interesting, bright and very funny guy and I might even listen once n a while, or at least might have if it wasn’t against the best music day on radio in the area.

However, this news comes the same week that another weekend host, and regular weekday fill-in Christina Cherneskey has announced that she is running for the Liberal nomination in Mississauga-Streetsville:

Christina Cherneskey, a popular 15-year Canadian radio and television broadcaster, announced today she will pursue the Liberal nomination in the federal riding of Mississauga-Streetsville.

“Politics is not an easy calling, but I firmly believe it is an important one,” said Cherneskey, who currently hosts a show on CFRB.

Cherneskey was also active behind the camera, acting as senior producer for CBC’s groundbreaking national debate program, Counterspin.

“As a radio and television broadcaster, I have years of insight and analysis,” she said. “I have been afforded the opportunity to critically view Canada’s political landscape, interview many key politicians and speak to Canadians about the issues that affect us.”

Question for the folks at CFRB: at what point does this become a trend?


Picture of the Day – Hamster Heaven

March 15th, 2007
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March Break Madness

March 13th, 2007

Last year at this time I was commending Stephen Harper for being smart enough to travel abroad while the kids were on March break:

Stephen Harper makes a surprise visit to the troops in Kandahar…

And most importantly, it gets Harper out of the mansion during March Break.

As I sit here typing on day one, with two bored kids running amuck behind me, I think, the man might just be a genius.

And so today I travel to an out of the way place during March break; with four kids in tow. And that folks is why they call him Mr. Prime Minister and I’m doing insider knowledge posts from an auto plant.


Picture of the Day – Snowy Woods

March 12th, 2007
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Democracy CAW style

March 12th, 2007
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Much is being made of the CAW/Daimler Chrysler deal this weekend involving the Brampton Assembly Plant. Little is being made of the fact that this deal was rejected by the membership of Brampton, and then brought back to them unchanged a month later. Here’s the letter that members in the plant received last week (click on it for a full size red):

Note the following:

“There can be no debate that the information process and the subsequent vote on the agreement was filled with significant controversy, misinformation and confusion.”

The union knew about the deal weeks in advance, told the membership there was a deal, then told them nothing else. A one page report was subsequently released, summarizing the details of the deal. There was an information vacuum, caused by the committee, that was indeed filled. The misinformation in question is one letter, handed out to employees, from a senior in-plant union official, that questioned the sanity of the deal. It made significant points against the deal. It filled the vacuum caused by a lazy committee that didn’t want to be bothered telling the membership what they were voting on.

“The leadership of Local 1285 plant, local and the National Union despite our concerns for the plant’s future respected this decision…”

They respected our the decision – very democratic of you.

“Despite your leadership’s views and concerns we defended our members decision as a decision of democracy.”

Of course, four days later there was a special meeting in which a new vote was held, and the union leaderships position prevailed. Buzz Hargrove himself was going to attend and berate address the membership. As noted in the linked article, the vote was passed by a 78% margin.

And that folks is how the CAW respects the memberships decisions and democracy.

Two other notes, The Brampton Assembly Plant has consistently been Chrysler’s most profitable and produced the highest quality vehicles, according to all the recognized methods of measuring quality, for the past 10 – 15 years. Now they are going to shut it down over 1/2 hours pay and 40 jobs, stuff that could and should be negotiated at contract time in October 2008. Then people wonder why Chrysler is in trouble!

Second, ignore the tone of the following line in the National Post article:

outsourcing of about 40 lower-paid janitorial jobs.

These are not just some “low paid” jobs, they are the highest seniority people in the plant. They are the most sought after jobs in the plant. By lower paid, they are talking cents an hour, as in approximately 25 cents an hour less than a line worker. By sought after I mean a person with 20 years seniority has virtually no hope of getting one.


Site of the week info.

March 11th, 2007

I’m keeping this post up top for the day in hopes that everyone gets a chance to see it.

I am trying to track all former “Blogging Tories Site of the Week” recipients. As such, if you have been a prior BT Site of the Week, please check here to make sure your site is listed. If not, e-mail me at and I will add your site to the page and a link to you.

If you’re site is “Right in Canada”, can you please provide a URL so I can link up to you.

These sites are needed so I can make sure I am adding new people as Site of the Week winners every week. The objective is to spread the word about good, but possibly unheralded, blogs on the Blogging Tories list.

If you have been a winner, I encourage you to put the BT Site of the Week logo on your sidebar, with a link back to the main BT Site of the Week page

Finally if you know a site that you think is deserving of notice, please feel free to let me know, and if you want your site noticed, don’t be shy. My only criteria is that you have been active the week I am picking for.

Thank you for any and all assistance.


Blogging Tories Site of the Week…

March 11th, 2007
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Rene is a construction worker from Winnipeg, who has been fairly prolific in the three months Right In Manitoba has been up and running.

And I liked the Pierre Trudeau/ Montgomery Burns separated at birth post.


Saturday Fluffernutter: Bono In The Red; Eddie In Rehab; Hendirx On The Bottle.

March 10th, 2007
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All the Fluffy news about the worlds biggest nuts

Kenny Loggins does a rock-walk: Kenny Loggins, one half of rock duo Loggins and Messina, solo artist and successful children’s singer (Return to Pooh Corner is the best children’s album going) was honoured with sticking his hands in wet cement on the Hollywood RockWalk on Wednesday. ” The RockWalk was established in 1985 to honor musicians who have made a significant contribution to the history of music.”

No Vodka for Hendrix: The family of Jimi Hendrix, who have been stalwart in protecting the Hendrix brand since his death in 1971, are upset about Electric Hendrix Vodka(right). The family is upset, partly because alcohol was implicated in Hedrixe’s death, but Seattle businessman Craig Dieffenbach “said the lawsuit has no legal basis because a 2005 federal court ruled that Experience Hendrix does not own the rights to Jimi Hendrix’s name and image — just his music.”

Next up on our touring oldies road show: Genesis has decided to re-group and do the “lucrative tour circuit,” beginning with a show Sept. 7 at BMO Field in Toronto. They will be in Montreal a week later. BMO field, in case you were wondering, is the professional soccer stadium still under construction on the Exhibition grounds. Tickets go on sale this weekend.

Bono goes red over claims RED is in the red: U2 singer Bono’s Aids charity is significantly in the red, according to reports this week. Reports say it raised $23 milllion, but cost $130 million is promotions. (Another report I heard said $18 million and $100 million.) The red campaign is a product line where some of the profits go to buy and distribute anti-retroviral medicine “to our brothers and sisters dying of AIDS in Africa.” For the record, Bono, or rather his people, was not dispassionate in his denial of the stories.

Saving the world, one Britney at a time: Hip Hop Producer Taimbaland, who has worked with Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado wants to save Britney Spears career. And why?:

“I feel her pain, it really bothers me… I’m the type of person who tries to save the world.”

So the world has so few problems in 2007 that saving it amounts to getting a good selling album out of Britney Spears? No wonder traditional news media has been so quick with the Britney’s in/Britney’s out of rehab stories; the fate of the world depends on it.

Eddie does the Britney: Speaking of rehab, it appears the Van Halen reunion that was cancelled two fluffernutters ago, is off so Eddie Van Halen can get some rehab of his own. From

March 8, 2007

I would like Van Halen fans to know how much I truly appreciate each and every one of you. Without you there is no Van Halen.

I have always and will always feel a responsibility to give you my best. At the moment I do not feel that I can give you my best. That’s why I have decided to enter a rehabilitation facility to work on myself, so that in the future I can deliver the 110% that I feel I owe you and want to give you.

Some of the issues surrounding the 2007 Van Halen tour are within my ability to change and some are not. As far as my rehab is concerned, it is within my ability to change and change for the better. I want you to know that is exactly what I’m doing, so that I may continue to give you the very best I am capable of.

I look forward to seeing you in the future better than ever and I thank you with all my heart.



On a serious note: Our thoughts and prayers go out to Johnny Depp and his partner, the stunning Vanessa Paradis, who are sitting bedside of their seriously ill daughter Lily-Rose at an undisclosed English hospital. As of this writing, Lily-Rose is apparently improving.


Why is Jim Flaherty Going After ATM Fees?

March 9th, 2007

We know why Jack Layton wants bank fees reeled in, because like this ridiculous bit of trash from The Williams Lake Tribune, Jack thinks profits are obscene. But why would a long time conservative like Jim Flaherty go after the banks for ATM fees?

Maybe because it’s a meaningless populist move. Standing up to the big nasty banks makes Jim appear soft and left-ish to rank and file middle of the road Canadians, and it’s meaningless to the banks. Why is it meaningless to the banks? Because, as The Economist magazine reported last month, if cash is King, then the King is dead:

…cash, after millennia as one of mankind’s most versatile and enduring technologies, looks set over the next 15 years or so finally to melt away into an electronic stream of ones and zeros. If an era is represented by its money, the information age is at hand.

most of the time a phone or a smart card that can be waved over an electronic reader will beat notes and coins hands down for convenience. The doubt—and the remaining obstacle to digital money—concerns a third property of cash: its anonymity.

Information-money can be handled by any information-processing device. That includes the mobile phone, which can add to money’s utility thanks to its display and its power at any time to link to your bank as a mobile ATM. Visa thinks a contactless digital transaction takes less than half the time of a cash one and that people liberated from what happens to be in their wallets spend a fifth more.

Which is why digital cash is now solving its chicken-and-egg problem. In the past shopkeepers would not install systems unless shoppers had electronic cash. And shoppers would not use electronic cash unless they had something to buy. But smart cards and readers have become cheap and consumers now possess mobile phones in droves. The trillions of payments that are too small to bear the fees of paying by credit card have come within reach and almost everyone stands to gain. Some Japanese merchants have already begun to offer discounts to people using electronic cash. Others will follow.

Which leads top the conclusion that if cash is yesterdays technology, so are ATM’s. ATM fees are then, just a temporary blip, and one that a conservative like Jim Flaherty can regulate without any real long term consequence.

Note: Another article here.


We Interrupt This Blog To Bring You A Message From Tomas Kaberle

March 9th, 2007
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Bravo to Tim Dolighan for a great cartoon – one of many.


Everything is not always as it seems in Enviro-Politics

March 8th, 2007

In the Netherlands Palm oil is the biofuel of choice, compared to corn here. So much so that they even built some electricity generation plants for palm oil use. It is seemingly a perfect environmental fit, as the plant grows it absorbs CO2, as it is burned it releases the CO2 it absorbed during its life-cycle. A carbon neutral fuel that is plentiful and cheap. What’s not to love.

According to a New York Times article by Elisabeth Rosenthal dated January 31st, lots:

Spurred by government subsidies, energy companies became so enthusiastic that they designed generators that ran exclusively on the [palm] oil, which in theory would be cleaner than fossil fuels like coal because it is derived from plants.

But last year, when scientists studied practices at palm plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia, this green fairy tale began to look more like an environmental nightmare.

Rising demand for palm oil in Europe brought about the clearing of huge tracts of Southeast Asian rainforest and the overuse of chemical fertilizer there.

Worse still, the scientists said, space for the expanding palm plantations was often created by draining and burning peatland, which sent huge amounts of carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

As you can imagine, this is causing a wee bit of a re-think on some subsidies and policies:

As a result, politicians in many countries are rethinking the billions of dollars in subsidies that have indiscriminately supported the spread of all of these supposedly eco-friendly fuels for vehicles and factories. The 2003 European Union Biofuels Directive, which demands that all member states aim to have 5.75 percent of transportation run by biofuel in 2010, is now under review…

In the Netherlands, the data from Indonesia has provoked soul-searching, and helped prompt the government to suspend palm oil subsidies. The Netherlands, a leader in green energy, is now leading the effort to distinguish which biofuels are truly environmentally sound.

The government, environmental groups and some of the Netherlands’ “green energy” companies are trying to develop programs to trace the origins of imported palm oil, to certify which operations produce the oil in a responsible manner…

Beyond that, the group suggests that all emissions arising from the production of a biofuel be counted as emissions in the country where the fuel is actually used, providing a clearer accounting of environmental costs.

I offer this article neither to praise nor bury biofuels. But rather as a warning: now that Canada seems intent on running headlong into environmental activism, we need to be very careful which policies we support, and how implementation of these plans are done. We need to be sure we aren’t just off loading our carbon releases to other jurisdictions.