Archive for September, 2007

Henderson has scored for Canada!

September 28th, 2007
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Has it really been 35 years?

Video link.

Sometimes it feels alright to feel old. Today, I am grateful that I’m old enough to remember this one, and why it was such a big deal.

1970's, Hockey

Going Upstate

September 28th, 2007
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I am heading to the Classical Guitar Society of Upstate New York’s fall festival for the weekend, where I will play:

Two waltzes:

Tema De Strauss (theme by Strauss: Kiss Waltz) – Fransisco Tarrega
Los Das Hermanitas (The Two Little Sisters) – Fransisco Tarrega
English Suite – John Duarte

A full day of playing by society members, then a composers seminar with Mir Ali, and finally a concert of pieces from the Segovia Archive by Mark Delpriora.

I am shutting down the blog for the weekend, including the usual weekend fare.

Regular posting will resume Tuesday.

Blog Administration, Classical Guitar

Is a Carbon Tax Now On for Federal Liberals?

September 26th, 2007
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Remember the caterwauling when John Baird released his Kyoto report, and Elizabeth May said a carbon tax would not need to be anywhere near the $195 a tonne the report said, and Stephan Dion said no carbon tax was necessary, a $20 tonne deposit system was all that was needed?

Liberal Leader Stephan Dion also rejected the $195 figure as excessive, saying that his party proposes a $20-per-tonne “deposit” instead of a tax.

“It’s a deposit that the companies will have to give to the environmental bank — and they will have this money back if they decrease their emissions,” Dion told Question Period co-host Jane Taber.

“It’s like when you have your bottle of Coca-Cola and you bring it back to the grocery store. You get your money back. It’s not a tax.”

Not a tax. That has been Stephan Dion’s line from the start. No Carbon tax.

If that is true, why did Dion’s Industry Critic and co-chair of the Liberal Party of Canada’s election platform committee, Scott Brison, pen an article today in which he says: “It is clear that… governments eventually will put a price on carbon.”

What is a price on carbon, put their by governments, but a carbon tax? Dress it up however you want, but Scott Brison called a carbon tax a sure thing. And since he’s helping write their platform, we must assume it’s now Liberal policy.

Carbon Tax, Global Warming, Going... Going... Gone Nuts For The Environment, Kyoto

Is it Starting to Turn on the Liberals in Ontario?

September 26th, 2007

Forget polls. I’ve said it a hundred times. Pollsters often have their own agenda, and can be heavily influenced by wording or ordering of questions. Forget them. The politicians do their own polling, and the only agenda on the internal polling is good information. Want to know what the internal polls say? Watch the politicians: they will react to them.

So it is noteworthy, I think, that today Dalton McGuinty didn’t go negative, he went scare mongering:

A vote for the Ontario Conservatives is a vote for the decimation of public health care and a return to the dangerous cost-cutting policies of former premier Mike Harris, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Wednesday in his sharpest attack yet on his chief rival.

I wish I could believe that John Tory was fit to carry Mike Harris golf bag.

“I’m comparing the politics of Mr. Tory to Mr. Harris,” McGuinty said, responding to a question in French.

“Yes, they are different people but at the end of the day, what happened in the past will happen again in the future. I want to be sure that Ontarians understand the choice before them. They’ve already experienced the cuts in their health care system. When I talk to Ontarians, they don’t want to see that movie again. They want to move forward.”

Standing in London’s John Labatt Centre, McGuinty vowed to spend $550 million a year to hire 9,000 nurses over four years _ enough to fill virtually every seat in the stadium.

“You see this arena behind me?” McGuinty said, gesturing to the empty stands. “Mike Harris emptied that arena of nurses. We filled it once and now we’re going to fill it again. That’s the difference.”

Dude, your harshing my mellow.

Watch for the less reliable polling to show in the next week or so that John Tory is picking up support. More interesting to see will be whether this ridiculous John Tory = Mike Harris stuff will have any impact.

Dalton Dalton Dalton, for whom the poll tolls

John Tory’s Election Troubles

September 24th, 2007

I’m puttering around work with a hangover, swearing up and down that I’m off booze for good – never again – this time I mean it – when I hear John Tory is talking about a trial of selling beer and wine in corner stores. Normally, that would cause me to sit and write a nice, John Tory friendly article with a title like…

Finally a Policy Idea I Can Raise a Glass Too.

But no, today I don’t care as I’m “off booze for good – never again – this time I mean it” and it occurs to me if John Tory is having as much trouble connecting with the rest of the electorate as he is me, then he’s in real trouble.

Hangovers and a bad case of the zactly’s aside, here’s how that article cited above might have went:

Finally a Policy Idea I Can Raise a Glass Too.

Back in mid-august we were entertaining our young nephew, who lives in Ottawa. His parents were on their way down to pick him up after a few day stay at our house, and I had no beer in the house. So we were puttering around Friday night, not expecting his parents until after 11:00, and I decided to pick up some beer, in case they were thirsty after their long drive. It was 9:15 on a Friday night, and I was out of luck. Both the Hespeler beer and liquor stores were closed. 9:15 on a Friday night in the middle of the summer.

Thus was born a beer and liquor store abolitionist.

So when John Tory announced yesterday that he would look at selling beer and wine in corner stores he made me sit up and take notice.

Now granted, nothing drastic from our man Tory. Just a few trial locations, study the question: as if Quebec, Alberta and B.C., the U.S.A. and Europe are not test location enough. Really, the data exists, the idea works. But from baby steps like this comes full fledged working policy, so I’ll take what I can get.

And don’t give me any of that “minors will have an easier time getting alcohol,” argument. When I was growing up the beer and liquor stores were the one place you could get alcohol, but try and get into a privately operated bar, and no dice. The same still holds true, and it holds true for a reason. There is no repercussions, either to the unionized employee or the store itself, if somebody sells to a minor in a government run store. But a private operation has much to lose, including their licence, their employees face dismissal for transgressions. There is no reason to believe the same will not hold true at convenience stores.

And please John, tell me you also mean grocery stores: for the environments sake if no other reason. I’m forever making an extra trip instead of grabbing a bottle/few cans of Guinness at the grocery store.

All that said, John Tory is looking for a trial location for his project, I have a little village in mind that needs a place were beer can be had after 9:00 on a Friday night.

Food, freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy, John 'Red Green' Tory, John Tory, Ontario Election, pimply minions of bureaucracy

Saturday Fluffernutter: Bond Goes To The Gym; Still (Johnny) Rotten After All These Years

September 22nd, 2007
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Craig, Daniel Craig is said to be hitting the gym in preparation for shooting of the next James Bond film, tentatively titled Bond 22. In case you missed the first 21 Bond’s, here’s a quick, 1 minute and 22 second summary, as performed by Bunnies.
The latest of the big rock and Roll reunions? The Sex Pistols, cashing on the 30th anniversary of their ground breaking punk album, “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols” with a reunion show on November 30th.

Regarding other old punkers reuniting, lead pistol Johnny ‘Rotten’ Lydon had this to say about the Police:

“… But honestly that’s like soggy old dead carcasses… You know, listening to Stink [Police lead singer Sting] try to squeak through Roxanne one more time that’s not fun.”

The last time I was in London was 1979. The punks, purple hair and safety pin through the cheek and all, were at their apex. Led Zeppelin performed their last London concerts, the legendary Knebworth shows, while I was there. If I went back at the end of November, it would be like nothing had changed.

News reached me this week of Band from TV, featuring Hugh Lawry, and a group of television actors doing charity musical performances. One of their stand-outs is a version of Cab Calloway’s classic, Minnie the Moocher. I couldn’t find a video of that performance, but I did stumble across one of my favourite ever TV scenes, Hugh Lawry as Bertram Wooster and Stephen Fry as Jeeves, doing Minnie the Moocher. It just doesn’t get funnier than this.

Craig Daniel Craig, Fluffernutter, Showing the proper feudal spirit

A Debate Where Everybody ‘s a Loser.

September 21st, 2007

I was working, and didn’t watch the Ontario leaders debate. Never one to let a little thing like that stop me from commentating, here’s what I believe will be a fairly accurate transcript of the debate:

Dalton McGuinty. Friends, I am here tonight not to win an election, but to save public education for our children. Because this man [points to John Tory] will kill off public education as sure as only legal handguns will kill off our children. I am here to regulate his plans into bureaucratic oblivion [giggles].

John Tory: That’s false, you are a liar.

DM: I don’t lie. After being elected last time I was forced, through your parties mismanagement, to cede an inconvenient untruth.

JT: Liar. That’s not leadership. We need leadership.

Howard Hampton. Gentlemen.. This is unbecoming. Surely we can all agree to throw gobs of money at public education, university and teachers, and to make kindergarten an all day affair.

DM: That sounds reasonable.

JT: You have had four years to implement all that, what have you been doing. Where has the leadership been on this issue. Why haven’t you told people of your plans. Liar.

HH: So you disagree with those suggestions Mr. Tory.

JT: Oh dear god no! A little right wing for my liking perhaps, but your in the ball park.

DM: I am not a liar, Mr. Tory. I am disingenuous in my honesty, and I wish you would stop calling me a liar.

HH: We need to raise the minimum wage to 10.00 immediately.

DM: $10.25, Mr. Hampton. Poor people need $10.25 to survive, but they don’t need it just yet. Soon as we get these pesky years with a zero in them out of the way.

HH: You have had four years already, now you want another two? Why would you need two years Mr McGuinty?

DD: To give people time to forget I promised it. Last mandate I raised taxes a mere six months after promising not to, and look at the trouble that got me into.

JT: Liar! That’s not leadership!! Speaking of leadership, when I ran a government regulated monopoly, we made tons of cash, and we did it with some of the worst customer service ever seen. It takes real leadership to be profitable in a government regulated monopoly. No sitting on the sidelines watching the first nations peoples burning down your buildings in that game.

DM: And what would you do in Caledonia, Mr. Tory?

JT: I’d accuse the first nations protesters of stealing American satellite signals, and sent the CRTC after them. Nobody can resist a bureaucracy that entrenched.

DM: How would that work?

JT: Are you kidding, they’ll be filling out forms, in triplicate, for years. Liar! Look folks, a common liar [points to DM].

DM: Stop calling me that.

JT: Oh look, your pants are on fire.

DM [looks]

JT: Made you look; only a real liar would look.
Vote for me for honest leadership.

DM: Public education is a right, and it is good. It is good because it’s public, and because it’s an education. Stop this dangerous lunatic from giving that education to 5,000 more kids; stop him in the name of inclusiveness. Vote for me, Dalton McGuinty, all save public education for all kids, except the 5,000 noted earlier.

HH: I’m Howard Hampton. Vote for me and you won’t have to vote for these two.

Dalton Dalton Dalton, Debating with Fools, John 'Red Green' Tory

The MMP myth

September 20th, 2007

It’s a wonder that no one has done this yet (at least I haven’t seen it), but half-an-hour on a spreadsheet this morning produced a most interesting, and surprising finding. First, some background.

Ontario is about to have a referendum on changing the way we elect governments from “first past the post” (i.e. the person who gets the most votes wins a riding) to MMP (whereby a portion of the legislature is appointed by the party based on party voting). This will allow, presumably, a party that gets 25% of the votes to have a larger representation in the legislature.

A couple of arguments swirl around the debate for MMP, both pro and con. One, is that a party that gets 44% of the popular vote will find it tougher to get a majority government. Second is that we will have less majority’s, more fractious parliaments. Third is it will allow smaller parties to get representatives in the legislature. And my numbers say – all myths.

What I have done is take the last three elections, and extrapolate the numbers to the new system. So, the Liberals got 70% of the 103 seats in the last election, they get 70% of the 90 elected seats under MMP. Further, they got 46% of the popular vote, which I gave to them in the form of 46% of the 39 seats given for party vote under MMP. Here’s my results;

The 203 election was a Liberal majority. The seats break down this way:

Liberals 72 (70%) – 46.4% of the popular vote
PC 24 (23%) – 34.6% of the popular vote
NDP 7 (7%) – 14.7%

Under MMP we would have a Liberal majority, with breakdown as follows

Lib: Elected seats 63; List members 18; Total seats 81 (62%)
PC: 21; 13; 34 (27%)
NDP 6; 6; 12 (9%)

1999 gave us a PC majority with PC’s getting 57% of the seats, Liberals 29% of the seats and NDP 13. Under MMP

PC: 52; 18; 70 (54%)
Lib: 26; 16; 42 (32%)
NDP: 8; 5 ; 13 (10%)

And in 1995, Mike Harris’ first majority. A quick summary, but under MMP

PC: 74
Lib: 33
NDP: 20

In each case, the governments popular vote was in the 45% range, in each case the results would not have changed, although the size of the majority’s do. And in each case, no other party garnered the required 3% of the popular vote to get a “party list” seat.

A couple of provisos of note here. In some cases, I am measuring apples and oranges. As MMP has a separate voting mechanism for party list members, extrapolating pure percentage of popular vote isn’t necessarily going to be accurate. The green party, for example, got 2.8% of the vote last election, but if given a separate choice, may very well have got quite a bit more. However, I am assuming that most people will vote for the same member and party. Also, three elections is a small sample. Done properly, such an analysis would go back 30 or 40 years, and examining the times when MMP would have changed results might even be more informative (the David Peterson Bob Rae years would be interesting to do, and how it would have affected minority legislatures would also be interesting). Finally, if you do some quick math, you will note that my numbers don’t always add up. In each case the seats alloted is less that the 129 that would actually be given under MMP. This is a trick of percentages, and does not affect the end result.

I will make no comment on the data at this point, but am interested in others comments. I will make my opinion of MMP known later, but don’t want to confuse this information with any argument I might make pro/con MMP. I did this for my own information, curious whether the arguments mentioned above hold water when tested against whatever data we have. They don’t, so use that as you see fit.

Update: Never Mind:

As Eric points out in the comments, I seem to have gotten the formula for MMP wrong (although I’m still not 100% sure). My conclusions, in each case, are incorrect and invalid.


Dalton McBrezhnev

September 18th, 2007
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Have you seen that commercial yet? Dalton McGuinty virtually giggling into the camera (scroll down the empty page and click on video 3: Public Schools):

You know what I love about Ontario’s public schools? They’re public.

Not that it’s good, effective, gives our kids a superior education, prepares them for reality, or is inexpensive and efficient. No, what Dalton McGuinty loves about the education system is that it’s owned and operated by the government of Ontario.

Which makes giggles McGuinty a dangerous ideologue:

Soviet TV, 1978 – Your great leader Leonid Ilyich McBrezhnev:

Comrades. Do you know what I love about Russian made GAZ automobiles? That it takes three years to get one? Nyet. That it breaks down with annoying regularity? Nyet. That it’s dangerous, unreliable and poorly made? The way the glove box rattles, the coffee cup holder is twice the size of any coffee cup I ever saw, and the sun roof won’t close when it gets wet? Nyet comrades. What I love about my Lada is it’s made by the government.

Don’t we need a better reason for supporting public education than “because it’s public”? And if that’s the only reason to continue supporting it, then isn’t that an admission that it’s time for a complete re-think on the education file?

Dalton Dalton Dalton, Silly Liberals, Silly Politicians

Stephane Dion’s "Nightmare Scenario."

September 17th, 2007
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Stephane Dion’s nightmare scenario became a reality in three byelections Monday night…

For only the second time since 1935, the Liberals lost the multiethnic riding of Outremont – and it wasn’t even close. They were beaten by 20 percentage points

With the party hemorrhaging seats in the province…

The party’s fall from grace has been staggering in the province…

But despite Dion’s optimism, he should expect to face tough questions from his own troops. One Liberal MP went out of his way to point out that the Liberals’ current seat-count in Quebec – 12 – is the lowest since Confederation

Another Liberal MP agreed that it’s time for a few changes. (emphasis mine)

OK, those are the highlights, but if Dion is going to get press like that, Stephen Harper need not worry about the backlash from the press gallery.

Gerry Nicholls predicts Dion is toast. He may be right, Liberals don’t tolerate losers, and right now that’s what Dion is.

Silly Liberals, Stephane Dion, whack-a-mole politics

Blogging Tories Site of the Week

September 16th, 2007
Joanne’s Journey

The point of Site of the Week is really to highlight some lesser known blogs, try and give other people their due. But sometimes the bigger blogs just show us why they’re the bigger blogs. This week has been one of those weeks.

The story of the week, as far as I’m concerned, has been the native occupation in the Caledonia area, the beating of Sam Gualtieri by native “youths,” and Dalton McGuinty’s running away from the problem. Joanne has been all over this story and was, thus, un-ignorable as a choice for Site of the Week.

Blogging Tories Site of the Week

Saturday Fluffernutter: Britneys Belly; Zeppelin’s Millions

September 15th, 2007
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How bad was Britney Spears MTV Video Music Awards opener last Sunday? This article refers to her as a “mumbling, miming performance.” When you are getting panned for both lip synching, and mumbling, you have a problem. Truth is, however, that she was obviously lip synching, so the mumbling accusation must be taken at face value. Perhaps they meant bumbling, which is fair comment. My favourite part? At the 45 second mark (video here) when she steps on up a knee high riser, and needs help. Any performer worth their salt could make that hop with ease.

Then there’s this very troubled young man:

Hey, I wish nothing more for people to leave her alone so she can get on with her well deserved obscurity.

On the complete opposite of the talent scale, Led Zeppelin announced a one-off reunion show on Nov 24th. Tickets are available through a lottery system, and so far “about 20 million fans” have put their name forward for a chance at the $250 tickets. Hopefully a number like “about 20 million” will convince Robert Plant that a tour should happen.

Here’s one I don’t know how I’m going to get out of. Lady Hespeler’s favourite actor, Colin Firth, has signed on to play Harry Bright in the movie version of Lady Hespeler’s favourite play, Abba’s Mama Mia! Even the addition of Pierce Brosnan can’t overcome Abba music and Meryl Streep. And with a July 18 release date, it looks a very un-happy birthday weekend for a well known Hespeler area blogger.

And speaking of Colin’s, yaaa! to Colin Farrell, who this week, instead of whining that we all don’t do enough for the homeless, put his money where his mouth is. While attending the Toronto Film Festival, Farrell spotted a panhandler in the crowd whom he knew from a previous visit (apparently during his last time in Toronto a radio station was offering $2,000 to the person who could bring Colin Farrell in. Farrell grabbed the first panhandler he could find, this same fellow, and dragged him to the radio station to get the $2,000). So Farrell spots this guy, says to him “jump in the car,” and takes him on a spending spree. He buys a couple of grand in outdoor equipment, coat, sleeping bag &tc, then gives him a wad of cash, enough for first and last on an apartment. The homeless guy himself says he gave him a chance to finally get off the street. If he does, then Farrell’s a hero on this one.

On the other end of the human decency scale, OJ Simpson is back in trouble with the law. OJ calls it getting some stuff that belongs to me back, but Nevada police are calling it armed robbery. It’s only in the investigation stage right now, but my guess is if Simpson is charged, tried and found guilty, he’ll get a maximum sentence. And this ain’t Canada OJ, it won’t be 2-5 with possible parole after 1/3 sentence, mandatory release after 2/3. It will be real, hard time.

Britney, Fluffernutter, The Mighty Zep

Native Quagamire

September 13th, 2007

Big, BIG ole h/t to Joanne, who really has this story covered, but I’ll add what I can.

This post will back track to June 06, when I ran a story about Caledonia, and the natives claim on ten KM from the Grand River. As I noted, “Brantford, Kitchener, much of Waterloo, Fergus and my beloved Hespeler is on their hit list.” Today they added Guelph, somewhat arbitrarily it seems, but who’s keeping count.

Joanne talks about the Haldeman tract, which is that 10KM strip from the grand, a picture of which is here.

Have a peek at the area covered by the track, and understand that Native Groups today declared it’s theirs.

Dalton McGuinty was last seen running away from the scene, and threatening CHCH news to not a run their story about it.

Update: It seems Caledonia Wake Up Call was right on the money

We are about to find out just how Biased the Toronto Media is. We all remember how the media spent endless hours covering how controlling Harper (Conservatives) was over the media.

Now we have a clear, direct threat to a Media Outlet by McGuinty’s Campaign Office, so let’s see whether the media will cover this story to the same degree.

I can find one reference to Premier McGuinty threatening a media outlet if they ran a story.

Dalton Dalton Dalton, Land Claims, Ontario Election, Silly Liberals

Natives to Issue Building Permits Along the Grand.

September 13th, 2007

Six Nations chiefs in the Watrerloo area are, as of today, demanding that anyone building along the Grand River get a Six Nations building permit:

From The Star:

WATERLOO REGION – Traditional chiefs at Six Nations say anyone planning to build in this region now needs native approval.

Developers in the Grand River watershed have been told they must secure a permit, issued for a fee by a new planning department established under aboriginal law.

“We are saying specifically that you need to apply and be given a permit,” Aaron Detlor, a spokesperson for the new planning agency, said yesterday.

“If you do not have a permit and you proceed, it’s our position that you are doing so in an unlawful fashion.”

He said there are no plans to send protesters here to challenge a development that has no permit. “That’s not part of the process that we envision whatsoever,” he said.

Also, “we’re not going to rely on the Canadian court system.”

“Ontario believes the place to resolve the (Six Nations) grievances is at the negotiating table, not on the backs of individual developments,” said Lars Eedy, spokesperson for the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs.

So what happens if a developer builds without a native permit and is confronted by protesters?

“It would become a police matter,” Eedy said.

Ken Seiling, chair of Waterloo regional government, worries the permit demand will provoke tensions…

From 570 News:

Developers may be dealing with a lot more red tape along the Grand River on lands claimed by the Six Nations.

Six Nations have formed their own municipal planning department under aboriginal law to deal with the development of land they say belongs to them along the Grand.

That native planning department says they now require all developers who build on land they claim in Waterloo Region, Guelph, and Brantford to get permission and a permit at a cost of between 5 and 7 thousand dollars. That would make developments along the watershed a lot more expensive.

The department is created under native law, but here is the catch: that permit is not required under Ontario law. So, if the developer is not legally responsible to get a Six Nations building permit, how will Six Nations enforce those permits? Could it spark further protests?

I have to go to work now, but thought I’d pass along these links. More later…

Land Claims

Happy Valentine’s Day Osama

September 12th, 2007
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It’s probably an oldie, but thanks anyway to Ron for sending this along:

Little Melissa comes from Chance Cove Newfoundland and attends first
After school she tells her father that they learned about the history of
Valentine’s day.’Since Valentine’s Day is for a Christian saint, I was
wondering if I gave a Valentine to someone who was not, will God get mad
at me for giving them a valentine?’
Melissa’s father thinks a bit, and then says ‘No, I don’t think God would
get mad. Who do you want to give a Valentine to?”

‘Osama Bin Laden,’ she says.

‘Why Osama Bin Laden,’ her father asks in shock.
‘Well,’ she says, ‘I thought that if a little Newfoundland Christian girl
could have enough love to give Osama a Valentine, he might start to think
that maybe we’re not all bad, and maybe start loving people a little bit.
And if other kids saw what I did and sent Valentines to Osama, he’d love
everyone a lot. And then he’d start going all over the place to tell
everyone how much he loved them and how he didn’t hate anyone anymore.’

Her father’s heart swells and he looks at his daughter with new-found
pride. ‘Melissa, that’s the most wonderful thing I’ve ever heard.”

‘I know,’ Melissa says, ‘and once that gets him out in the open, our
Canadian Soldiers can shoot the fucker.

Wonder if Dad choked on his granola bar?