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Showing posts from March, 2009

Mulroney threatens to plague Harper until he dies

Harper Harper Harper Harper

Harper told the Financial Times today that Canada’s banks should capitalize on the relative strength of their balance sheets by acquiring assets in the US and other countries.

Harper’s logic is that because we had a regulated banking system, Canada is now the only country that is not nationalizing or partially nationalizing our banks and therefore we have the only remaining free enterprise based financial system. In a frequently recurring marketing theme about Canada the brand, Harper would like to see our five major banks take advantage of their comparative strength and expand into new markets and in his words build the brand – the country’s brand, their own brand.

Despite Harper’s somewhat questionable brand management skills and his natural economic inclination that crumbling markets present good buying opportunities, this is probably not the best time for our banks to start acquiring foreign assets, since no one knows what toxic assets are still on the books out there.

Anyway Harp…

Obey the police, they might have a Taser and kill you

The Quebec Public Security Minister announced this week that he is going to destroy five Tasers after they malfunctioned during testing, Fifty-two of the provinces 167 weapons were tested and with almost a ten percent failure rate during testing the minister is now going to test the rest.

Of course the minister does not know what was wrong with the weapons or what caused them to fail, which I would think is probably the most important point here.

Did the weapons that are supposed to restrain suspects by hitting them with a 50,000 volt electric charge, produce a smaller charge or higher charge. Possibly a lethal charge or none at all. Were the weapons dropped, left out in the rain or otherwise mishandled, Did the charge get stronger each time the gun is used. Are they now going to start testing them more often, annually, monthly, weekly or say each time they are discharged.

There seems to be more questions raised by the test results and certainly more actions required than simply dest…

Government throws up another roadblock on stranded Canadian

Armed with his air plane ticket in hand, a ticket paid for by some above average Canadians, waiting for our government to issue special travel documents, so he can return home on April 3rd, Abousfian Abdelrazik is being threatened with another conservative roadblock.

Our Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, now wants Abdelrazik to get himself taken off the UN watch list. Cannon said Friday that Abdelrazik first needs to get his name removed from the terror list before he can travel home.

Abdelrazik’s Canadian lawyer said under UN laws, the country of nationality can bring its citizen home if they are on the blacklist. The fact he finds himself on this list doesn't mean that Canada can't bring him back.

The flight is scheduled for April 3rd and the airline needs 48 hours advance notice whether Abdelrazik will have his valid travel documents. Our government hasn't yet responded to a request for formal notification whether it plans to provide travel documents.

Here's …

We are starting to act like Americans

The Ontario Tax Economy

Ballpark Burger

70 K for this

Which does not make a lot of sense since you are seeing it here for free.

The image shows a farmhouse sitting at the top of a rise while Broadway, then an unpaved track, runs below. This was the Upper West Side back in 1848. This recently discovered half-plate daguerreotype, which is believed to be the oldest image of NYC in existence is expected to sell for $50,000 to $70,000, next week.

However the most surprising discovery within the image was not discovered until after the image was digitized. If you zoom the image to maximum you can almost make out a male figure standing next to the farmhouse who resembles one of New York City’s earliest entertainers.


Reference: Telegraph UK here.

Slow down on the rhetoric Mr Kenny

Responding to a United Nations report that showed a 30% increase in the number of people seeking refugee or asylum status in Canada, Jason Kenny wants to tighten up on the rules regarding immigrants seeking asylum.

Last year 35,000 immigrants applied for asylum in Canada, Approximately 44% of those applying were approved. The remaining 20,000 whose claims were rejected have the right to appeal and are then given temporary work visas. The appeal process can be extended for years.

Kenny believes that this is clearly an abuse of Canada's generosity and a violation of the integrity of our immigration system. He noted that the Immigration and Refugee Board rejects up to 90% of claims made by Mexicans and that would suggest wide scale and almost systematic abuse.

He has asked the immigration committee to begin a dialogue on ways we can reform the refugee system to make sure there is a fair process that complies with the principles of natural justice, but ensures that bogus claimants are…

Eventually you have to say no to a bully

On March 5th the Liberals posted a Just the Facts release about Harpers Record on Infrastructure spending. The release explained how the conservatives still had $3.9 billion unspent from their current budget and addressed Harpers new demand for fast approval for an additional $3 billion while providing no information of where the money would be spent.

The Liberals made a reasonable request that Canadians should know what Haper’s minority government was planning to do with an additional $3 billion. See Martha Hall Findlays questioning of Baird.

With billions of infrastructure dollars about to be spent, the main point here was to stop Harper from treating our tax dollars as his private campaign funds and use our money in a responsible manner in the regions of Canada that need the assistance, not just the areas that will gain the conservatives favor or votes. I believed, at the time, that the Liberals owned the high ground here.

The only way to force Harper to start acting in a responsib…

Galloway is coming to Canada on March 30th

Possibly sooner if the organizers of his four city tour are successful in getting an Ontario federal court to issue an injunction overturning the Citizenship and Immigration Canada's entry ban.

Either way, he is still coming. If the request for an injunction fails Galloway is planning to walk into Canada across the US border on March 30th and he is not planning to be alone.

A legal team, led by immigration and refugee lawyer Barbara Jackman, has assembled support of more than 50 organizations, including the Council of Canadians, Canadian Civil Liberties Union, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, anti-war coalitions in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal, several large labour unions and many community organizations.

Delegates from these groups along with Canadian MPs, lawyers and activists will be assembling at the border to escort and welcome Galloway as enters from the US.

Meanwhile the organizers of the four shows say the sales of tickets have skyrocketed -- most of the venues are …

Calgary celebrates White Pride Day

Hundreds of angry anti-racist protesters were held back by Calgary police yesterday as they tried to scuffle with a small group of neo-nazis, racists who somehow think the colour of their skin, is worth celebrating. The nazis were celebrating white pride day.

The hundreds of angry anti-racists were celebrating the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination which has been observed annually on 21st of March, since 1960.
On March 21st 1960, South African police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, who were marching against the apartheid pass laws. The UN General Assembly proclaimed March 21st The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination (resolution 2142 (XXI)).You might of thought that the city of Calgary would have postponed issuing a parade permit to a small group of white racists…

One week from now is Earth Hour 2009

Earth Hour is Saturday, March 28th at 8:30 pm.
Last year more than 100,000 Canadians registered via the Internet for Earth Hour -- another 775,000 signalled participation via Facebook -- putting Canadians at the top of the list in global participation.

Sign up here, if you have no done so yet.

I wonder if our prime minister will decide to participate this year...


Give us your articulate huddled masses

Speaking in Calgary yesterday Harpers Immigration Minister Jason Kenny announced that he believes that immigrants who can't speak English or French well enough should be denied citizenship.

This revelation came to Kenny after a trip to Delhi where he unexpectedly met with a woman who has lived in Canada for 15 years and has been a Canadian citizen for nearly 12 years, who could not conduct an interview with an immigration official in either of our official languages. The woman was applying to sponsor her spouse, whom I assume was also not fluent in English or French.

Kenny then went further in his interview with reporters, adding that immigrants and those who want to become new Canadians should speak a competent level of French or English.

Similarly to Flaherty who questioned bailing out the auto industry based on conversations he had with a passerby while walking down the street, Kenny too, seems to base his ministerial decisions on rare and infrequent outings amongst real Canadi…

Happy Spring Here Comes the Sun

George Harrison recalled that wrote Here Comes the Sun at the time when Apple was getting like school, where he had to go and be a businessman, Sign this and sign that. Anyway, it seems as if winter in England goes on forever, by the time spring comes you really deserve it. So one day I decided I was going to sag off Apple and I went over to Eric Clapton's house. The relief of not having to go see all those dopey accountants was wonderful, and I walked around the garden with one of Erics acoustic guitars and wrote Here Comes The Sun.

I heard the song on Q this morning when I was driving to work and thought it was a perfect song for the first day of spring.


Canada stops Galloway from peeing on carpet

According the New York Times here, the British press are making a big deal of the banning George Galloway. This video is from the British Channel 4 where their reporter called Moores spokesperson Alykhan Velshi, who actually sounds more like one of the PMO operatives, to get further clarification.

The reporter questioned Velshi, about his quoted description of Galloway as an Infandous street-corner Cromwell and tried to get a better understanding of why the British, MP was being refused entry.

Velshi implied that Galloway has expressed sympathy for the Taliban murderers who are trying to kill Canadian and British soldiers in Afghanistan, although he did not mention any particular article or speech.

Velshi believes it is entirely appropriate for Canadian security agencies to say that if they have advanced notice that Mr Galloway is going to come to Canada to pee on our carpet, that we should deny him entry to the home.

Galloway for his part is planning to fight the ban and seems to ha…

Satirists our unacknowledged legislators

Undisclosed allegations, no charges, no trials, but maybe open borders

News Flash Goodyear Correction

According to the Globe article here, Minister Goodyear has finally come out on the side of evolution.

Mr. Goodyear said he originally refused to answer the Globe question because it was irrelevant and his beliefs have nothing to do with government policy.

At the same time the Globe also reports that a spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper stressed that creationism is not part of the federal science agenda.

Methinks that Mr. Goodyear got a call from the PMO.

Either way, good to know that it was just plain old conservative arrogance that prevented him from answering and not God.

Just trying to keep the posting accurate.


Good Grief Goodyear

Our science minister Gary Goodyear is a creationist, but hey that doesn’t make him a bad choice, he has been there on the discovery stuff, right from the beginning, tweaking automobile engines when he took shop in high school.

Good grief, I don’t know which is worse, whether he refuses to confirm a belief in evolution or if he thinks his experiences in high school shop are relevant.

This makes perfect sense to me, in a sort Seinfeld like bizarro world, we have a creationist as a science minister, a minister for the environment whose purpose is to promote the energy sector, a defense minister that is looking for another job, an industry minister who just likes to hear himself speak and an infrastructure minister to plan photo opportunities. Oh and Jim Flaherty is still running finance.

Good grief indeed.


h/t Impolitical here

A brief theory on how the Fourth Estate is using me

I was reading an interesting article by Clay Shirky about how journalism will evolve with the death of newspapers. Apparently Shirky is a well known internet expert and it probably makes a great deal of sense to those that either follow him or know something about the internet.

Shirky’s conclusion is that there will be a new form of journalism replacing the news on printed page once everyone gets their head around the fact that the newspaper industries are no longer a viable model. The journalists and the delivery of news will be funded differently, through sponsorship, grants, or endowments and eventually a new form of journalism will emerge.

Unfortunately as it is for me with most technological hypotheses, they are over my head. It might be an age thing or possibly I just don’t give a shit until it happens. In any case I will probably be dead before then.

What I do pay attention to right now are the news web sites from the publishers and broadcasters. As a part time blogger I scan …

What James Moore does not understand

Apparently our new Heritage Minister James Moore, wanted to have a say in what Canadians should be viewing on the CBC.

The CBC which is suffering a similar decline in advertising revenue as the other national networks first tried to get it’s federal funding increased to cover the short fall. However the conservative government has declined to provide additional funds, and even recently announced a reduction in funds to the CBC radio division. So the board of the Crown Corporation is now in the final stages of putting together a business plan that will address the new realities.

Our Heritage Minister who has been quite frank about some of the programming changes the CBC has been making decided it was a good time to meet with the board and talk about the future. He was looking forward to the meeting where they would work together. We will work together, because the global economy is in a crisis, Mr. Moore said.

I assume that the CBC was as confused about what the global economy has to d…

The dilemma of Stephen Harper

Can you imagine the irony that poor Stephen Harper must feel. He has become the prime minister of a northern European welfare state, in the worst sense of the term.

Despite his best efforts to ignore the impending recession, a recession apparently caused by American consumers, who forgetting their conservative values, tried to live beyond their means, he has now been forced to become the benevolent socialist leader, doling out government welfare to a growing number of Canadians who have failed to remain employed.

This is not what Stephen Harper signed up for and certainly not the role he thought he would be playing as the most conservative prime minister in our history.

However his week did not start out this way. On Tuesday Steve was optimistic about the downturn telling the Brampton Chamber of Commerce that we should set aside our Canadian modesty and start selling our strengths to the world. Canada will be one of the first countries to recover, he told us. I imagine that it was goo…

Tar Sands did not create two headed fish

As erroneously reported here, the two-mouthed fish caught downstream from the Alberta oil sands last summer is not an unusual phenomenon in dead Goldeye.

Joe Nelson, a professor emeritus in the biological sciences department, said his examination determined that what was thought to be an extra jaw was in fact the tongue. Ligament contraction after death pulled the tongue out and down, he said. Nelson, who added he has no reason to believe the fish was deformed in any way. The specimen is now part of the university's permanent research collection.

It is good to know that the provincial government is on top of these things.

Unfortunately they have not been so forthcoming and to some degree as concerned about water monitoring here, and here, or monitoring the air here and here.

But good to know about the fish.

Just trying to keep my postings correct.


The New Canadian Media funding, it will scare you

Starting in April, to receive funding from our government, New Media must be delivered to the public by a television set.

Oh it can still be on a web site, or a CDROM, or included in mixed marketing with a product launch or appear on YouTube, but it must also appear on television.

The fund will favour projects produced in high definition and will require applicants to make their projects available on at least two distribution platforms, one of which must be television.

In typical conservative oxymoron logic the Minister of Heritage, James Moore stated that the merging of Canada New Media Fund with the Canadian Television Fund will support Canadian content in the new era of consumer choice, emerging technology, and is an investment in Canada's future.

The whole purpose of investing in New Media is to develop new means of mass communication, interactive media, new sensory media, new ways to learn, communicate and inform. The whole purpose of our government investing in new media was…

For the lack of an answer to a simple question...

...the Harper government is threatening to force the country into general election. Of course it is not just a simple question being posed by Martha Hall Findlay is above video. She is asking the bombastic Baird whether, or not the Harper government is going to participate in a parliamentary democracy or continue to act as presidential autocracy.

Findlay does a good of job of pushing Baird to admit that the government only wants to reveal stimulus spending at public photo opportunities where they can take full credit.


Making us a somebody

Apparently our government is politicking hard to raise our countries stature on the world stage. According to this Globe article by Doug Saunders whose articles I think I will start following from now on, our government has two international campaigns underway.

Harper wants Canada to be elected to a seat on the UN Security Council again, starting in January 2011 when the current terms for the non-permanent members ends. If successful this would be our seventh two year term with the last one ending on December 31st 2000.

Unfortunately, similar to the 62% of Canadians who voted in the last election, the international community is also questioning the motives of our prime minister.

The problem in this case (Canada’s attempt to garner UN votes) is not the method, but the nature of Canada's ambition. In the past, this country has sought and won seats on the Security Council as a means to something: an approach to peacekeeping, a nuclear-arms-control drive, a post-Cold War reconciliati…

David Gilmour turns 63

David Gilmour the last lead guitarist of Pink Floyd turns 63 today. If you are a Floyd fan you know all the stories about Gilmour taking Syd Barrett’s spot. Gilmour leaving because of Roger Waters’ domination of the band. Floyd truly was two bands.

Although there are plenty of Pink Floyd videos on YouTube to choose from, I went with their last performance together from Live 8 in 2005 with two songs that Gilmour and Waters collaborated on. The first, Wish You Were Here was the only Floyd song where the lyrics were written first, which is probably because the theme of the song and album of the same name was about Syd Barrett and his breakdown.

If I have a favorite Floyd song it is Comfortably Numb. It is one of only two songs on the Wall that were not solely credited to Waters. Gilmour had already started his solo career by this time, for which he had written the music. Waters wrote the lyrics supposedly about being injected with tranquillizers to treat hepatitis prior to playing a sho…

Alberta MP ducks the point at tar sands hearing

Conservative MP Brian Jean, whom I presume also represents Syncrude at the hearing, as well as the residents of Fort McMurray, was testifying in Ottawa yesterday about how many birds are killed around the world each year.

According to Jean 500,000 are killed by cats, 200,000 by Toronto skyscrapers and he thinks it is unfair that because 500 birds are killed in 10 years at the oil sands, the companies are on the front page of every newspaper in North America and many in Europe.

I think you are missing the point Mr. Jean.

Ignoring the fact that the 500 ducks died within minutes of landing in the tailing pond and that the tailing pond was big enough for a flock of 500 ducks to land in, it is the rampant, uncontrolled, destruction and pollution of the land, air and water that most concerned North Americans are focussing on.


The prophecies of Harper the economist

This week, in one day, Hamilton, Ontario lost as many jobs as Alberta is forecasting to loose province wide, as the oil province heads towards it’s first deficit in fifteen years

I wonder if it is too late to take Harpers election advice about moving the country’s unemployed west. Alberta would then have 30,000 unemployed. In hindsight I sort of understand Harper’s logic, we could keep moving the unemployed back and forth across the country, from one province to the next.

To save costs, we could house the unemployed steelworkers and their families on trains and keep them moving to next available job market. Of course it might get overcrowded if we included the autoworkers and their families, but if we could just hold off for at least a month, the weather will improve and some of them to ride on top of the freight cars.

Ironically, Harper's prophetic warnings from last November in Peru might come true. Who knew...


The breakfast song

From Tupelo, Mississippi we have two southern baptist, breakfasters, who I guess are planning to meet the maker by eating very big breakfasts. Stick around until he starts into the cereal brand names. :)


To his scattered body gone

Have you ever wondered what a conversation would be like between Mark Twain, Sir Richard Burton, Alice from Alice in Wonderland, Tom Mix, maybe Jesus and say Hermann Goring. Well, so did Philip Jose Farmer.

In fact Farmer decided to bring every person who ever lived on earth from the beginning of time back to life and drop them on the bank of great river. A sort of rebirth where every adult started out healthy, the same age, nude and hairless.

That is roughly the beginning of To Your Scattered Bodies Go, the first book of Farmer’s five part Riverworld Series. Scattered was one of the first science fiction books I read as I switched back and forth between Farmer’s Riverworld and Frank Herbert’s Dune series. You have time on your hands when you own a book store.

Where Herbert concentrated on the psychological interaction between conflicting societies, with eloquent descriptions of his desert world, Farmer’s style was more like a pulp fiction writer with an interest in history. The writ…

Moving our drugs laws back 30 years

A delusional government or a nation of fools

According to this Canadian Press article we are being asked to believe that the same conservative government that could not foresee the coming of the largest recession since 1929, a government that did not start working on an economic plan until they were forced to by the opposition parties, somehow had the foresight to start searching for spurious, material about Ignatieff three years ago.

Two unidentified conservative spokespeople claim that there will be three themes to their attacks: that Ignatieff is an out-of-touch elitist; that he flip-flops (they will cite his shifting positions on a carbon tax, on coalition with the other opposition parties, and on Israelis bombing of Lebanon); and that he's a fair-weather Canadian. Their reason to start these attacks now: We poll better on offense.

The conservatives are delusional if they think that this attack ad strategy will be successful, this time around.

If it ever did succeed, we would truly be the fools, that they must believe we…