Archive for March, 2008

National Post Singing From My Tibet Songbook

March 27th, 2008

Well, that didn’t take long. Yesterday I suggested instead of the athletes who have worked their tails off being told not to go to the games, the politicians should stay home and let the Chinese officials stand around talking to themselves:

No delegations of VIPs, no official visits, no junkets to Bejing. If all the leaders in the free world would do so, it would send a powerful message. I know it could be Stephen Harper’s only chance to take his kids to an Olympics, I know how important it is for our betters to see and be seen at these events, but there will be other junkets, other opportunities to hob-knob.

Today the National Post “came up with” the same idea, not once, but twice. In their main editorial, Punishing China, they actually go one step further:

In view of all this, Canada must find a meaningful way of communicating its disgust with Beijing’s actions. At the very least, Stephen Harper’s government should announce that Canada is boycotting the Games’ Aug. 8 opening ceremonies (an idea that is also being explored by several European countries). We should also announce that no federal officials will attend the Games. (emphasis mine).

I like the idea of boycotting the opening ceremonies, that’s a nice addition. As the Chinese are trying to tell the TV networks what they can and cannot broadcast, they too should refuse to broadcast the opening (they won’t, but they should).

The second article in question is Father Raymond J. De Souza’s This time, don’t look the other way. A very good article by one of my favourite Post writers, De Souza deconstructs why we shouldn’t be ignoring the Chinese actions in Tibet, why China is the most “Ghastly” nation on earth:

Is there a regime more ghastly than that of the People’s Republic of China?

Is any other government that so systematically suppresses all religious liberty, erecting religious bureaucracies to which believers are required to belong in order to worship? Is there any other regime that still imprisons and kills bishops, priests and monks who fail to swear loyalty to the state? Is there any other country where the entire population is subject to child-bearing control, with forced sterilization and abortions for those who decline to submit to state rules on family size? Is there any other regime that executes thousands of its citizens annually, the majority for the crime of challenging the ruling party? Is there any other country accused (by credible sources) of executing religious dissidents, harvesting their organs and selling them? Is there any other regime more dependable in its support of the worst kind of evil around the world (Darfur)?

Even the vile regimes in Saudi Arabia, Cuba, North Korea and Zimbabwe do not compare to China across the breadth of its human rights violations.

And De Souza’s solution? Not surprisingly:

The Prime Minister, preferably in joint action with opposition leaders, should announce that no federal political officials will attend the Beijing Games. (emphasis again mine).

Hmm, where have I heard that before? Although I confess De Souza does a far better job explaining why, and makes a far more convincing case than I did.

The Media Following My Lead., Tibet

Bad News if you play on the BCE Hockey Team

March 27th, 2008
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You’ve played in your last playoffs.

Speaking of which, will you Leaf fans please shut up now – you are really REALLY not going to make the playoffs, and anything cannot happen once you get there.

The last month has been about nothing except getting a worse draft pick, hope you enjoyed it.

Hockey, Leafs

Picture of the Day – Victorian Guitar

March 27th, 2008
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Dwight Duncan’s Ontario Budget Bender.

March 26th, 2008
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Back “in the day,” 25 or so years ago, I tended towards the drink a bit. Not a house drinker either, a barfly. One night a buddy and I were at the Cannonball in Bramalea (is it still there?) and we got sitting with this guy who had, literally, just sold the farm. He was sitting with (if I remember correct) $80,000 in his pocket and was on what you might modestly call a bender.

He decided to include us in his good time and the drinks were soon coming almost faster than we could drink them (almost). We did a thing were we would come up with a drink we had never had, and suddenly we were drinking three of them. I recall a few white Russians and black Russians, but truly little else. I have no doubt that guy woke up a few weeks, or months later with no farm, no money and one hell of a headache.

I thought of that guy today while reading about the Ontario budget delivered Tuesday by Dwight Duncan. Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals have decided to spend any surplus they find. In Tuesday’s budget that was an extra $5B they “found” and will promptly spend. As Terence Corcoran put it:

If the province had collected an extra $10-billion this year instead of $5-billion, it would have spent it.

He’s dead right, and that’s exactly what they said, if we have it, we spend it. $5B, $10B, $20B. It’s really the same spending approach as the guy who sold the farm at the Cannonball: he hadn’t budgeted on the money, thus it was found money, “hey lets go on a bender.” At the end of the day he had nothing to show for the sold farm, but boy, what a hangover.

It makes you wonder: what kind of hangover are Ontario taxpayers going to wake up with when Dalton and Dwight have finished spending our found money?

pimply minions of bureaucracy, watergate - shawanigate - profligate

Michael Bryant Gets a Lesson in Videography

March 26th, 2008
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Ouch. Caledonia Resident Merlyn Kinrade answers Michael Bryant’s amateurish Caledonia videos with a few of his own:

This video is the result of a Minster of the Ontario Government, Michael Bryant, coming to Caledonia and making light of the critical situation in Caledonia. Mr. Bryant we sincerely asked you last fall to meet with us. Why not accommodate our request to meet rather than producing You Tube videos?”

“Tim’s is a great cup of coffee, you get the pulse of the community by going where the issues are.” That’s the kind of 10 second zinger politicians would kill for.

“There’s a great fishing spot by the dam, but the river is somewhat polluted since the Province hasn’t funded a new sewage treatment plant.”

As I noted before, Kinsella called Bryant’s videos smart use of new technology, but it’s never smart to give your opponents the chance to get in the last word, and that’s exactly what Bryant did. Not just that, but a couple of guys in Caledonia did better, more professional videos than Bryant did, that’s not good.

Score Merlyn Kinrade 1 – Michael Bryant 0.

Caledonia, Silly Politicians

Resign Now! This Union Member Tells Buzz

March 26th, 2008

If there is any truth to the rumour Buzz Hargrove is running for the next federal Parliament, he should resign as head of the CAW immediately!

The CAW is currently beginning the process of negotiating a new contract for it’s members at the Big 3 auto plants. It is going to be a fractious negotiations, with the Big 3 demanding wage concessions, including possibly two tier wages as announced last year in the UAW agreement. I can tell you from the shop floor, workers are expecting an ugly fall. So as this process begins members have every right to expect the person leading the union will be fully committed to the process. It appears, however, that Hargrove is fully committed to something else:

Ottawa is abuzz with rumours that the CAW’s Buzz Hargrove will run for the Liberals in the next federal election.. and he plans to take on a big fish….

Rumour has it that Buzz Hargrove will run in Toronto, against NDP Leader, Jack Layton…

If that’s Hargrove’s plan, fine. But CAW members need him on the job at this critical moment, not eyeing the next job. He can re-pay the members for all the free advertising the CAW has given the Liberal party in the past couple of years, then resign immediately.

As Hargrove himself admits that a strike is possible this fall (and many would say likely), and many observers believe likewise that an election is possible this fall, it beehooves Hargrove to come clean before negotiations begin. I for one don’t want to be on strike and having the union’s leader resign for his next job in the middle of the strike. Nor do I want to be on strike to prove how tough the next Liberal candidate for Toronto-Danforth is. Finally, as a member in good standing in the CAW, I don’t want to be paying for advertising, positive or negative, for Hargrove’s political campaign.

So Buzz, to put it in language you union guys understand: I demand you agree, in writing, to finish your current term as President of the CAW, or resign immediately.

CAW, Wasted Away Again in Buzzistan

Let The Politicians Boycott the Olympics

March 25th, 2008

Like many people I have been following the Tibet protests closely and waiting to see what would happen. I have been thinking about the possibility of a boycott, and confess to be squeamish about it. Many of the young athletes who have trained their asses off will never get another chance. They deserve their kick at the Olympics, and unless things get much worse in Tibet, I can’t support a call to take the Olympics away from those athletes.

Politicians, however, are a different kettle of fish. I have been thinking for about a week now that the politicians/world leaders should definitely boycott the Olympics. No delegations of VIPs, no official visits, no junkets to Bejing. If all the leaders in the free world would do so, it would send a powerful message. I know it could be Stephen Harper’s only chance to take his kids to an Olympics, I know how important it is for our betters to see and be seen at these events, but there will be other junkets, other opportunities to hob-knob.

Last Tuesday French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner suggested the European Union should boycott the opening ceremonies, and yesterday Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said he would boycott the opening. All well and good, but a complete boycott by all official delegations would be far better.

Don’t lets use our athletes as pawns, lets use our political class as pawns. No 2008 Olympic junket for politicians and bureaucrats.

Now if I could just find a bumper sticker.

pimply minions of bureaucracy, Tibet

Now Elizabeth May Thinks the NDP Should Roll Over For Her

March 24th, 2008

The NDPs job, according to Elizabeth May, is to defeat Stephen Harper – period. Thus, they should join forces with the Greens to eliminate Stephen Harper’s Conservative government:

I have people coming over and saying, ‘I’m going to vote Green because I think the NDP is more interested in eliminating the Liberal party than in restoring to power a government that actually cares about issues I care about.’ My advice to (NDP Leader Jack) Layton which is open and really in the spirit of co-operation — rethink the policy of constantly denigrating the Greens and acting hostile towards us.

Which makes you wonder, what is it about politics that Elizabeth May doesn’t get? Let me guess what this co-operation would look like – the NDP wouldn’t run a candidate in Central Nova, the Green’s don’t run in Toronto-Danforth and maybe Trinity-Spadina. Because the best way to eliminate Stephen Harper is to elect Elizabeth May. (Of course, Toronto-Danforth and Trinity-Spadina are pretty safe NDP seats, so what’s in it for Jack Layton?)

Back when May made her deal with Stephane Dion, I made the following comment:

If Elizabeth May is only interested in knocking off Conservatives, if she doesn’t want to unseat a Liberal or New Democrat, what’s the point of the Green Party? Why doesn’t she just join one of those two parties?

It still stands. It is not the NDP that is in the way of the Greens unseating the Conservatives, and it’s a Jacobian Piece of Impertinence to suggest it is, it is the Greens syphoning votes away from the Liberals and NDP. And don’t tell me, as May suggests, that the Green Party “draws (support) from all the traditional parties.” If you’re reason for being is that “we cannot afford more than one term of this (Stephen Harper’s Conservative) government,” you aren’t going to draw support from the Conservative party.

If defeating Stephen Harper is your only reason for being, Elizabeth May, fold up the Green Party and stop syphoning votes from the parties that could defeat them.

One last thing. May talks about a positive campaign:

I believe that if we have an election that focuses on issues and not spin and attack ads, the voters will exercise their wisdom.

But isn’t the following, by nature, negative?

Not just specific trades in different ridings, but an effort to be more collaborative so that we can figure out — in a first-past-the-post system — can we work together to ensure that (Prime Minister Stephen) Harper enjoys a one-term period as prime minister.

We cannot afford more than one term of this government.

If all you want is to defeat the other guy, that is the very definition of negative campaigning. But that is not really what Elizabeth May wants: Elizabeth May wants a seat for herself, regardless of the costs to everyone else.

Elizabeth May, Jacobian Piece of Impertinence

I Don’t Want My Fried Chicken Grilled

March 24th, 2008

I try to eat healthy, I do. But sometimes I just want junk food – sometimes I want a piece of chicken that’s been dipped, battered and fried. And when that day comes, I love Kentucky Fried Chicken.

You have to wonder, do the people at KFC really believe customers will come to eat grilled chicken?

Kentucky Fried Chicken customers will be greeted eventually by lighted “Now Grilling” signs, starting in coming weeks in select U.S. cities.

Storefront signs will be altered to promote the new product – called Kentucky Grilled Chicken.

Louisville-based KFC, a subsidiary of Yum Brands Inc., hopes grilled chicken will lure back health-conscious consumers who dropped fried chicken from their diets, or cut back on indulging.

Health conscious consumers are not coming to KFC regardless of what the sign says. And sometimes, even us health conscious guys want a bucket of grease.


Saturday Fluffernutter: Fleetwood Crow?; Ashlet Dupre Gone Wild; Heather Mills Divorce Vows.

March 22nd, 2008
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The nutty stories from the fluffy world of celebrities.

Singer Sheryl Crow says she is set to work with Fleetwood Mac sometime in the near future:

I don’t want to make any official announcements, but I will say that we definitely have plans for collaborating in the future, and we’ll see what happens.

Crow would, apparently be replacing Stevie Nicks, who has indicated she would leave Fleetwood Mac without keyboardist Christine McVie, who herself retired in 1998. While no time line was given, Crow suggested this could happen next year.

I for one, think Sheryl Crow would look good in those long flowing Stevie Nicks dresses.

Or not.

Well, it’s over and Heather Mills gets $50M and a tattered reputation for four years marriage. Hope she found it worth it. While the judge ripped her a new one, indicating her evidence was “inconsistent”, “inaccurate”, “less than candid” and that “overall she was a less than impressive witness.” He also said her view of her marriage was “make-belief.” But never let it be said that Heather Mills doesn’t think higher of herself than the rest of the human population does: “…it was an incredible result, in the end, to secure my and my daughter’s future, and that of all the charities that I obviously plan on helping and making a difference with – because you know it has been my life for 20 years.”

Eliot Spitzer ho Ashley Dupre got some pay back for her wild ways this week. Girls Gone Wild was set to pay her $1M for promotion work. It was soon discovered, however, that Dupre had already done some free work for the video firm, letting it all hang out as a Girl Gone Wild a few years ago. And that is how you say, buh-bye to $1M Ashley.

I am on the mailing list of this two-bit record label that I don’t recall subscribing to, but probably did. I get occasional e-mails from them, usually highlighting new releases from artists I have no or little knowledge of. But occasionally, I get personalized e-mails from the rap group The Beastie Boys. It is my firm belief these messages are why God (and Bill Gates) invented the delete key. This week, however, I got an interesting message from the Beasties:

hey all, things are really getting intense in tibet now. i just hope that all of the suffering that these protesters are enduring leads to some positive change. below is a news bulletin that i got this morning. please take the time to write to your local congress representative and ask them to get to work. it would be sad if what is happening in tibet now had no constructive result…

I am of the shut up and sing school of musical thought, but this one gave me pause. I agree very much with the sentiment that the international community needs to do more for Tibet, but I still wish I wasn’t getting e-mail updates from The Beastie Boys on the subject – [Delete].

The weekly Led Zeppelin update, courtesy of Ramble On:

Canadian Eggs, a Canadian folk music magazine has named Raising Sand as the critics choice for top folk album of 2007… Plant has received numerous awards through the years, but it may be a safe bet that critics choice for top folk album is not one of them, until now.

Congrats also to Levon Helm, who’s excellent album Dirt Farmer came in at 5th.


Prime Minister Harper in Guelph

March 20th, 2008
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As indicated by the last couple of posts, and possibly the next one, I wandered over to the neighbouring community of Guelph last night to hear the Prime Minister speak at a function for Guelph candidate Gloria Kovach. Guelph will be the site of the next federal by-election (along with a Quebec riding, I believe), a by-election that must be announced by Oct 10 – a lifetime for this government. Gloria Kovach is the Conservative candidate in that by-election, as well as being somebody I know, however informally, from outside politics. She in fact, used to work with Lady Hespeler.

Last nights event started off with the run through the usual cabal of protesters heckling the people entering the event. God bless their sincerity, it was a cold wet night to be standing outside being ignored for a couple of hours, but they kept with it.

Inside the hall, my MP Gary Goodyear kicked things off with a warm up speech that was, in my father-in-laws words, as entertaining as it was empty. But really, nobody was there to hear what Gary Goodyear had to say, so he got the meaningless lines and a chance to poke fun at the Liberals.

Next up was Gloria Kovach herself, who said little other than to introduce herself, thank everybody for their support, and introduce Prime Minister Harper. The two introductory speeches didn’t take ten minutes of the evening I am sure.

Then came the Prime Minister. He gave a fairly long speech, in the neighbourhood of half-an-hour I would estimate, and covered a lot of ground. He took a few jabs at Stephane Dion, particularly good was when he outlined all the times Dion swore he was taking down the government. But mostly he talked of the governments accomplishments, and what the Conservatives would like to do moving forward, including more crime legislation and senate reform. I thought the best line of the night was the most important (paraphrasing a little): in the by-elections Monday we did something very unusual for a governing party, we took a seat away from the opposition.

Overall it was a good effective speech for a partisan crowd. He hit all the right buttons, said most of the things a conservative crowd wanted to hear, and got an agreeable reaction. The night concluded with an opportunity to shake the PMs hand and get a picture with him. A nice opportunity, in which as I indicated earlier, I asked him where his wife was (I was hoping for a picture with her, actually). It resulted in a small, pleasant conversation about the kids schooling. I’ll tell you I had a far better chat with him (if 30 seconds = a chat) than if I’d asked him about tax policy or the Quebec question. If I ever get a chance to meet him again, I’m asking about Ben’s hockey

Gary Goodyear, Gloria Kovach, Pictures, Stephen Harper

If You Could Meet the Prime Minister…

March 19th, 2008

What would you ask him?

Me, I asked him where his wife was…

I’ll give details of the meeting tomorrow, including a few good pictures.

Pictures, Stephen Harper

Picture of the Day: Church in the Mist

March 19th, 2008
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Mr. Harper Goes to Guelph

March 18th, 2008

Now that four by-elections are out of the way, all eyes turn to Guelph, where Liberal M.P. Brenda Chamberlain has resigned, effective April 7th. Tomorrow night, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will attend a rally for Guelph Conservative candidate (and former professional associate of Lady Hespeler) Gloria Kovach, where some are expecting he may call a by-election. Don’t however, expect the by-election call just yet: Prime Minister Harper has until October 7th to call the by-election, and it would far more prudent to wait until the fall and be sure a general election hasn’t occurred before then.

I am heading to the rally tomorrow, and will report back on Thursday. You can register to attend the rally at Gloria Kovach’s web site, here.

by-election fever, Gloria Kovach

Why Obama Will Not Be Prsident

March 17th, 2008
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“If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any colour) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.” Geraldine Ferarro

It has long been my contention that the 1st black president of the United States will be Republican (this argument applies equally to women). Geraldine Ferraro’s comments above crystallize why: any Democratic candidate that is black or female will have the taint of affirmative action on them. If Barack Obama was in the same position he is in today, except he was Republican, there would be no questioning his fitness for the position. If the Republican Party ever has a black or female nominee, you can be sure they would be the best candidate, with strong credentials, strong policies and a strong record. There would be no free passes due to race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or record of offences. The Democratic Party however, is the party of affirmative action, that equal opportunity must result in equal results.

When the Democrats put forth a candidate from a disadvantaged group, that candidates fitness for the job will automatically be questioned by many voters; not because of the candidate, but because of the history of the Democratic Party. And while Geraldine Ferraro can be beaten into submission, individual voters, standing in the voting booth and wondering, is he the best candidate, or the best black candidate?(or best female candidate?) cannot be so beaten. It may be possible to enforce equal opportunity on the workplace and public institutions, it cannot be enforced in the voting booth.

If Geraldine Ferraro, the person who has risen to the highest position thanks to affirmative action, the person chosen as Walter Mondale’s running mate with a whole six years in congress to call experience, can question Barack Obama’s experience, then why wouldn’t the voters question his experience? It’s not Obama’s fault, but he will have to carry the Democratic Party’s legacy of supporting affirmative action into any Presidential election.

US Politics