Archive for February, 2008

Geldolf on Bush

February 29th, 2008
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I read a fair number of biographies and autobiographies, especially in the music field. I offer not a word of a lie when I tell you that Bob Geldolf’s Is That It? is bar none the best written autobiography I have ever read. He had a very minimal career inpop music, but when you consider what he’s turned that into, you know he a bright guy. Interested in him or not, if your a reader, I recommend his book.

That all said when you hear that Irish pop has-been Bob Geldolf flew with G.W. Bush on a recent trip to Africa, and then wrote a piece in Time about his meetings with teh President, you assume hatchet job.

It’s not to be. Geldolf’s interest is, and has been since the 80’s, African poverty. He knows his stuff, he judges based on action. He makes it clear he is not a natural supporter of GW, but he also seems to genuinely have liked him and is very fair in his comments:

I gave the President my book. He raised an eyebrow. “Who wrote this for ya, Geldof?” he said without looking up from the cover. Very dry. “Who will you get to read it for you, Mr. President?” I replied. No response…

I have always wondered why it was never told properly to the American people, who were paying for it. It was, for example, Bush who initiated the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) with cross-party support led by Senators John Kerry and Bill Frist. In 2003, only 50,000 Africans were on HIV antiretroviral drugs — and they had to pay for their own medicine. Today, 1.3 million are receiving medicines free of charge. The U.S. also contributes one-third of the money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — which treats another 1.5 million. It contributes 50% of all food aid (though some critics find the mechanism of contribution controversial). On a seven-day trip through Africa, Bush announced a fantastic new $350 million fund for other neglected tropical diseases that can be easily eradicated; a program to distribute 5.2 million mosquito nets to Tanzanian kids; and contracts worth around $1.2 billion in Tanzania and Ghana from the Millennium Challenge Account, another initiative of the Bush Administration.

So why doesn’t America know about this? “I tried to tell them. But the press weren’t much interested,” says Bush. It’s half true…

Bush adds, “One thing I will say: Human suffering should preempt commercial interest.” It’s a wonderful sentence, and it comes in the wake of a visit to Rwanda’s Genocide Memorial Center. The museum is built on the site of a still-being-filled open grave. There are 250,000 individuals in that hole, tumbled together in an undifferentiated tangle of humanity. The President and First Lady were visibly shocked by the museum. “Evil does exist,” Bush says in reaction to the 1994 massacres. “And in such a brutal form.” He is not speechifying; he is horror-struck by the reality of ethnic madness…

Read it all, it gets behind the scenes on Air Force One, talks about the Presidential Laundry, including Geldolf’s respectful dis-agreement on Iraq: “Mr. President, please. There are things you’ve done I could never possibly agree with and there are things I’ve done in my life that you would disapprove of, too. And that would make your hospitality awkward.”


Michael Bryant Goes Hollywood

February 29th, 2008
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Yesterday I ranted somewhat about how completely useless our Provincial politicians have been lately. Today comes a series of videos by Aboriginal Affairs Minister Michael Bryant standing around Caledonia with a Tim Horton’s coffee talking about the unrest there, and saying things like “here’s the bridge; there’s the river.”

Kinsella calls it a smart use of new technology, but really shouldn’t smart use of any technology involve professionalism. The wind blown microphones, Bryant speaks with more “umms” than a Paris Hilton video and jerks around, shrugging and pointing all over the place. This could be smart use of new technology if it was done better (hire a teenager with a cell phone, they’ll tell you how to do it) and the subject matter wasn’t the complete abdication of the rule of law.

Silly Liberals, Silly Politicians

A Rash on All Their Asses

February 28th, 2008
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It’s a sad state of affairs when the local newspaper starts reading like The Onion, but that’s the case today. These guys are nuts, and they’re running this province.

Health care in Ontario is a +$30B dollar ministry in Ontario, and the guy running the show doesn’t have the native intelligence to figure out how unpleasant it might be to wear a soiled diaper:

Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman says he’s considering personally road-testing a new absorbent adult diaper to see if it’s appropriate for the province’s nursing home residents.

“As a matter of conscience, it’s something that I have been seriously considering,” Smitherman told reporters yesterday.

The super diapers have become a flash point in the debate around adequate staffing in long-term care facilities.

It’s a mighty cold day in hell, and Hespeler when Sid Ryan and Peter Kormos are the guys making sense in a debate, but in Dalton’s Ontario, that’s how effective banning pit bulls has been against global warming:


“So if the minister wants to play silly games, let him put on a diaper and sleep in it all night long and come into the legislature and wear it until 12 o’clock, and let him soil that diaper and lay around in it for the length of time our seniors have to do in this province.”


“Smitherman’s a damned embarrassment. One doesn’t have to use or exhaust one’s imagination to understand the humiliation, the indignity, of sitting in one’s own waste for what could be hours at a time.”

Really, wet socks are annoying, how much brains and imagination does it take to know spending hours in wet diapers is not good enough.

Then there’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister Duncan Bryant, who is telling developers not to pay extortion to the Six Nations Development Institute, a group who is demanding $7,000 fees to develop along the Grand River, land which the institute has no legal claim on:

Ontario will not stop Six Nations from charging developers fees on disputed land near the Grand River, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Michael Bryant said.

He spoke yesterday as calls mounted for the government to halt what some are calling extortion.

A Six Nations development institute is demanding developers pay fees to build around the site, while protesters continue to occupy a former Caledonia housing project.

Developers who got letters seeking fees say the province is hanging them out to dry by not intervening or guaranteeing their safety.

But Bryant said it’s up to police to intervene and press charges.

“Developers … didn’t just fall off the turnip truck,” he said. “They know very well what the rules are and the laws are.”

But Bryant won’t step in and nobody can reasonable expect the OPP to do anything about it. Not after Caledonia. So the developers pay the bribes necessary to do business in Ontario (how about a new slogan? “not your average third world country.” That ought to rake in the tourists). So the developers pay, the Liberals pretend the issue has gone away, businesses moves on to the next province, and Ontario sinks in to have-not status.

Speaking of which, Dalton is doing a fair bit of whining this week:

Federal politicians have to stop “talking down” the Ontario economy, Premier Dalton McGuinty says.

The premier said he wasn’t prepared to follow their advice to cut taxes because he would have to close hospitals, cut social services and stop buying textbooks for students.

Instead, the Stephen Harper government should be partnering with his government on strategic investments in training, jobs and infrastructure to help grow the provincial economy, he said.

“It’d be nice to have the federal government in our corner,” McGuinty said. “It’d be nice to have a federal government which doesn’t seem to take so much delight in talking down the Ontario economy.” Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s comment that the McGuinty government is letting Ontario slide into “have not” status and should cut taxes to improve the business climate did not go over well at Queen’s Park.

It would be nice to have the federal government in our corner. Instead, the feds are reduced to acting like stern parents, warning the province of the consequences of it’s actions. Dalton’s response? Right on cue, here comes the petulance. Answer one question Dalton, are we or are we not heading for have-not status according to the federal equalization formula? If not, answer the argument with facts. If so, why? And don’t say it’s Mike Harris’s fault.

Better yet, someone give this guy a diaper.

Finally, we go back to article two, Bryant Skips Home Fight, for one last item:

Meanwhile, Tory party leader John Tory wrote Gary McHale yesterday opposing the Richmond Hill activist’s “inappropriate” planned Caledonia demonstration Sunday at OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino’s home in Woodbridge. Public figures accept protests with their jobs, but “have a reasonable expectation that our families and our private homes will be left out.”

While I agree in principle, don’t the people of Caledonia have a reasonable expectation that there families and private homes will be left out of protests, whether by native bands, angry unionists or local nutjobs? And if they do end up in the middle of “inappropriate” protests, that their leadership, both politically and in the police, will aid them? And if that doesn’t happen…?

Ladies and Gentlemen, your Government of Ontario: a rash on all their asses

Dalton, John 'Red Green' Tory, Politicians acting badly, Silly Politicians

Tag, I’m it

February 27th, 2008

Hunter climbed out of the dark to tag me, so here it is.

Meme: Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.

1. My house-key is a big blue Toronto Maple Leaf key – all the better to find the right key in the dark.

2. The 2nd best present I got this Christmas is a Jimmy Page action figure, complete with amp and cigarette.

3. I prefer Starbucks to Tim’s, and like my coffee latte’d.

4. I don’t believe a country has it’s own inherent literature (i.e. Can Lit). A good book is a good book, and can come from anywhere. Yet my two favourite books are written by Canadians.

5. Strawberries are my favourite food; brussel sprouts my least favourite.

6. I prefer to party like it’s 1989, even if I can’t anymore.


John Tory: One Final Thought

February 27th, 2008

As has been noted elsewhere, John Tory’s 66.9% of the delegates votes on Saturday was the same as Joe Clarke’s 1983 showing, which Clarke accepted as not enough and called for a leadership convention. Some have been suggesting Tory should follow Clarke’s lead, that, because of Clarke, 70% is the drop dead point on these reviews.

As Wudrick points out, however, “Mr. Clark… is considered the gold standard of poor political decision-making in Canadian politics.” His decision to hold a leadership convention after receiving 66.9% would be one of those judgements.

But Clarke had a reason (two, actually: from the comments of the same post linked to above: “People tend to forget that Joe Clark got 66.5% of delegates voting against a leadership review in 1981… In 1983… He received 66.9% supporting his leadership. Clark called a leadership convention because his support was not increasing.”) . Joe Clarke had lost his caucus back in 1983. He had virtually no support from the members he was supposed to be leading. He wanted a very strong majority in the review so he could reinforce his leadership in caucus. When he didn’t get it, he went with a convention.

John Tory, on the other hand, seems to have caucus support. He didn’t need super majority status to reinforce his leadership. He needed 50% + 1, and he got it. I don’t support John Tory, and won’t, but I have no complaints about Tory staying on with almost 70% of the delegates votes.

John 'Red Green' Tory

Gentlemen, start your SUVs

February 27th, 2008

Now that the evidence is coming in that the earth is cooling thanks to reduced solar activity, and cooling is substantially worse than heating, shouldn’t we abolish taxes on all carbon, build and drive bigger cars, fire up the coal, close the hydro-electric plants, and consume, consume, consume?

Or do you think heating was never the issue in the first place?

Going... Going... Gone Nuts For The Environment

This Voter Says No To John Tory

February 25th, 2008

Joanne over at Blue Like You suggests that she’s going to get behind John Tory now that the issue has been decided:

I made a promise to stop slagging Tory once a decision was made and I intend to keep it. At this point the party must attempt to come together or we will end up in the same position as the Federal Liberals.

Sorry Joanne but myself, I made a different kind of promise:

I pass a message on to Freedom Party leader Paul McKeever: if the PC’s can’t put up a better leader, somebody who is not a red Tory, then count me in for 2011 – assuming of course you want me.

So Joanne, no, I will not get on board. I understand that choosing politicians is always a bit of a compromise, but why must I make all the compromises. And I’ll tell you something else Joanne, John Tory has more in common with Joe Clark than just leadership review numbers: policy – check; electability – check; long term decimation of the party he leads – lets just hope not.

Frankly, I’m not really planning on running for anybody and I hope a Freedom Party candidate can be found for my riding. However, four years is a long way away and anything can happen: Hey! I work in the auto industry. Four years from now I might have nothing better to do.

But Joanne, I don’t see me getting on board with John Tory, and I sure don’t see that I will “stop slagging Tory.” When Conservatives refuse to act conservative, I am slagging them.

John 'Red Green' Tory, John Tory

What Jim Flaherty Really Means

February 21st, 2008
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OK, it seems pretty obvious what Jim Flaherty really means by:

Instead of seizing opportunities and taking steps to strengthen our economy we are seeing a lack of leadership, a lack of vision and a lack of economic stewardship. And we are seeing it right here in the manufacturing heartland of the country, the place I proudly call home: Ontario.

But to put this speech in perspective, lets go back a few years. In fact lets go back almost two years, to April 2006. Back when we were still digesting “Canada’s New Government,” back when they were in fact new, and the ministers for this government were all newly appointed: Rona Ambrose was in Environment and had upside. Garth Turner was in the back-benches of the governing side, and his blog was Stephen Harper yaa tis, and Stephen Harper yaa that.

And Jim Flaherty was Canada’s new Finance Minister. In that environement, I spoke thus:

When Dalton’s Liberal’s came to power in Ontario, they bitched and moaned about the state the Conservatives left the finances. They made statements such as ‘they cut taxes too quickly’, ‘they acted irresponsibly’ and &tc. The problem is, one of those Conservative Finance Minister’s, one of the tax cutting ones, was Jim Flaherty.

If you are Jim Flaherty, are you sorely tempted to tell Dalton McGuinty that a) the house was once in order b) the house is no longer in order and c) we blame you for b? For a tax cutter fiscal conservative like Flaherty, is this even more so after the last Ontario budget, in which Dalton McGuinty intentionally built a deficit into the budget for political(?) purposes?

Not being content with that, in October of that year Dalton spoke somewhat out of turn:

“A lot of those people who used to run Queen’s Park, the ones who didn’t get what it takes to succeed in the 21st century, they’re back. They’re running the federal government. It’s kind of like a recurring nightmare,” McGuinty told the closing rally of the Ontario Liberals’ annual general meeting.

“I’m increasingly concerned they still don’t get it that they still don’t understand that it takes more than competitive taxes alone to build a high quality of life in today’s world.”

Good Lord, Dalton! Put away that stone before you break one of the panes on the wall.

So who was surprised yesterday when Flaherty went after McGuinty? Who was surprised when he said “Dalton McGuinty likes to blame others for his problems. But I suggest the problems, in many cases, stem from a lack of innovation, a lack of foresight and a lack of leadership.”? Not me, that’s who. I saw this one coming two years ago.

More at Jack’s Newswatch and Blue Like You. (Hey Joanne, did you consider “Blue By You”? It’s catchy and you could hum along.)

Dalton Dalton Dalton, It's all about me

Lunar Eclipse Tonight

February 20th, 2008

The blogging is going to stop for the night and I am going to brave the cold to see if I can see the eclipsed moon peeking out from behind the clouds. Don’t forget to sneak outside for a look yourself, and if your not sure when (now would be a good time), here’s an animated time chart.



B.C. = Bad Carbon (tax)

February 20th, 2008

Yesterday I stopped at the Petro Canada on the 401 between Cambridge and Guelph, and filled up at $101.9/litre. Over night last night, the price responded to petroleum finishing the day at over $100 /barrel, and by this morning the same gas was running at $109.6. That’s a 7.7¢ litre. If you were looking for a car yesterday, are you looking for a smaller one today? Did you chose not to go somewhere today because of that 7.7¢?

On the same day that gas prices rose 7.7¢, British Columbia has introduced a new carbon tax of 2.4¢/litre of gasoline. It will increase over four years to about 7.2¢/litre. In four years a carbon tax will increase the price of gas by ½¢ less than it rose on it’s own over night last night.

The details of this tax are somewhat complex, with money going back to taxpayers in various plans. It is also according to the BC government, revenue neutral. Revenue neutral is one of those buzz words, and while politicians want you to hear, “your overall taxes will not rise,” they are also, and more importantly saying, “your taxes are not going down.” Even if you decided to save taxes by cutting your carbon use, the carbon tax would necessarily rise to protect the revenue neutral aspect of the tax.

In B.C. however, revenue neutrality is irrelevant. A 7.2¢/litre carbon tax will have no practical effect. I have said it every time I write on this issue, 60¢/litre is the size required of any carbon tax if it is to be effective. Even Elizabeth May, whom I have already stated I think she’s got it wrong, thinks 12¢/litre is what’s required. As I point out in the article the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a leftist think(?) tank thinks the oil companies are taking 15c a litre excess profit. If the gas companies are taking excess profit more than your carbon tax, how effective will your 7.2¢ carbon tax be?

Look out B.C taxpayers, this is just the beginning.

Carbon Tax, Going... Going... Gone Nuts For The Environment

Counting the Hits

February 19th, 2008

Sometime through the night, between when I crawled in to watch House, and when I emerged from my down-filled cocoon at 5:00 this morning, the sitemeter counter on At Home in Hespeler rolled over to 30,000.

I know it’s not a lot by many blogs standards, but it is a number I never imagined when I started this little enterprise. With that said, I want to thank everyone who has read this blog and everyone who has linked to this blog. I couldn’t have reached 30,000 hits without you, and I appreciate your support.

See you all in two years for the 60,000 hits post!

Blog Administration

Happy 40th Birthday…

February 18th, 2008

Molly Ringwald?

If the terminally cute and pouty Ms. Ringwald is 40, that must mean I’m…

Maybe I read that wrong, if only I had my bi-focals…

Dear God! Someone get me a midol…

Oh Hell! Happy birthday to Molly Ringwald anyway.

Birthday Wishes

Old Whores Meet Drunken Sailors

February 18th, 2008

The federal Conservatives are claiming the Liberals have promised spending commitments and “promising tax dollars to special interest after special interest, writing IOU after IOU,” according to Industry Minister Jim Prentice. The result, according to a Conservative report, would be to add $62.5B debt over the next four years.

Predictably, the Liberals have fired back with John McCallum, calling it a shoddy, dishonest document.” All that spending would be phased in, thus, it’s OK claims McCallum. The Liberals further suggest that the report is “pre-election stunt designed to distract from the Harper government’s own free-spending ways.”

Let’s see, the Conservatives say Dion’s Liberals… spend too much, the Liberals say Harper’s Conservatives… spend too much.

Enough! You both spend too much! Listening to John McCallum and Jim Prentice argue over which party spends too much is like listening to two old hookers accusing each other of nymphomania. And sadly, the opposition to these two parties, Jack Layton, Elizabeth May and Gilles Duceppe would argue that what the other two really need is to get laid once in a while.

A sexually transmitted pox on all their houses – the whole damn lot of syphilitic old whores.

Silly Politicians

Hey Kate.

February 14th, 2008
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Regarding this

The examples keep piling up.

On the other hand, one of my favourite quotes is, “You want your freedom? Don’t take government money.”

Same rule applies to government housing.

pimply minions of bureaucracy

Update to Controversy for Cambridge Liberal Nomination

February 14th, 2008
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I wrote about the local Liberal nomination a few days ago, and quoted extensively from a Cambridge Times article on the subject, including the following:

Zielstra [nominee Gord Zeilstra]… emphasized other candidates were also given membership signup forms without having to dish out $1 each for them.

Today, the following (excerpted) letter is in the Times from Zielestra’s opponent, Robert Konduros:

No free forms here

…I would like to set the record straight and make it clear that I never received any nomination forms from the association…

Also, readers should understand that the essence of the misconduct was not in failing to pay a dollar for each membership form which sounds petty, but that the candidate and the local riding association conspired to ensure his victory contrary to basic fairness and party rules…

Silly Liberals