Our opinions of and advice to the world. Updated whenever we get around to it.
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Thursday, December 30, 2004
The annual conference and Christmas party for the staff at canadiancomment just wrapped up. This year's event was held at my house, but for next year's event we may have to rent the community center or something, you should have seen the lineup of VIPs waiting to get in to rub shoulders with all the movers and shakers in attendance. I think even CNN's Tucker Carlson was trying to get in, sorry Tucker, no bowties allowed.
Actually, it was just Dana and I, nobody else wanted to hang out with us, I guess. Who could blame them, we aren't that exciting. All we did was try and come to an agreement on what our secret rightwing agenda will be for the coming year. We couldn't decide on whether it should be to, control the world's oil supply or allow corporations to run our everyday lives. It's a toss up.
Anyway, I'm just shitting you.. maybe, about the whole secret agenda thing. All we actually did was trade books and play the Playstation and eat chocolates, that and talk about the media and politics, of course. Shit, we really are boring, oh well, have a happy New Year everybody!
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
For years the government of Prince Edward Island has attempted to encourage economic growth in the province by building facilities and/or giving money to businesses so that they'll move their operations to PEI. This policy has only wasted the taxpayer's money, as most companies bribed into coming to the province only stay until the government money runs out, usually moving to another province after a few years.
For the longest time I couldn't get over the stupidity of such a system, but it seemed most of the Atlantic provinces were doing it to one another, with the taxpayer losing out in the end. But the government of PEI may have finally come to their senses. They have decided to reduce the risk to the taxpayer by rewarding established and successful businesses with tax breaks and incentives, instead of paying them in advance.
Instead of paying cold hard cash right out of the treasury, as before, the province decided to give up some future tax revenue instead. This way only successful businesses get rewarded; government money will not be sprinkled on just any dumbass idea now. Makes sense, don't you think?
My only question is, why did it take so long for the government to realize that it made sense to reward successful businesses only, instead of them all? A government can't decide for us whether a business will succeed or not, the marketplace dictates that, so PEI's decision to stand back and let the people decide looks like a good one.
crossposted to the Shotgun
Monday, December 20, 2004
I bet you that Paul Martin is extremely happy that Libyan strongman, Muammar Gaddafi, said the following about their friendship.
''On a personal level, we have gained a quite personal friendship. We are friends not just because he is the Prime Minister of Canada but we shall always be friends, even if he is not the Prime Minister,"I mean, who wouldn't want a crazy elderly gentleman, who likes to wear knee high boots and long flowing robes on a daily basis as a friend?
Well folks it's that time of year when I hit the road and return to the Motherland. Oh God please let it be warmer than Ottawa!
Anyways, I'll be on hiatus until January so before I left I thought I better wish you all a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.
Sunday, December 19, 2004
There has been a long running debate over the last decade trying to explain and resolve the problem with conservatism here in Canada. Greg Staples has been trying to stir the debate. As has Mark Steyn.
As Mark and Greg point out, conservatives in Canada can't come to terms with each other and create an agenda. Preston Manning was able to do this. Deficit reductions are his legacy. He framed the debate and never relented until his goals were met.
Who plays this role in conservative circles today? I like Stephen Harper as a politician but he does not fill this role. I'm not sure if that is because of a choice he has made or otherwise. That is another debate though.
Canadian conservatism needs to define a small set of goals and harp on them constantly until they are met. Canadian conservatism does nothing but complain about... everything. I personally consider myself to be conservative and I'll be the first to admit that we do nothing but complain. Read through the postings here at The Shotgun or any of the other Canadian conservative/libertarian sites and there is nothing but complaining. There is no plan.
Conservative politicians refuse to define the agenda and because of this get clobbered in the press galleries. Conservatives have allowed themselves to be defined as the 'radicals' when it comes to the gay-marriage debate. How is this possible? Radical for preferring the status-quo? This is a failure of Canadian conservatives and no one else.
So what is my solution to all of this? Simple... define 3 or 4 issues that must be addressed based on conservative/libertarian principles. All else is off the table. End of freaking story. And what if the national media doesn't want to discuss these 3 or 4 issues? Then take them to the local media. If you have 80 conservative MPs discussing an issue on their local news broadcasts it won't be long before it becomes a national concern.
So what should these 3 or 4 issues be. Well naturally I've got those too:
1) Lower taxes for the middle class.
2) A parallel private health care system.
3) Regional control over resources.
Why did I pick these? I picked them because I personally feel very strongly about them. But as well, I think these issues can be clearly defined so that they appeal to individual voters.
Go into any coffee shop and discuss these issues with people and you'll see what I mean. Ask them about the tax take on their last paycheck. What do you think their response will be? Huh? Ask Maritimers what they think of the federal governments involvement in the fisheries? Albertans and oil? Prairie folks and their farms? What kind of response will you get?
Ask people what they think knowing that only Canada and Cuba allow a government monopoly over health care. The response? Come on, this is easy.
Conservatives of all stripes, both politicians and average folk, need to force these issues onto the national agenda. Writing letters to newspapers. Politicians giving press conferences. Getting the issues in the local paper.
A non-stop marketing blitz pushed by thousands. Liberals do it. The NDP do it as well.
So why can't conservatives?
Anyways, my choices for top issues are mine alone. The opinions of others may differ. Regardless, key issues must be defined and everyone will have to get behind this clunker and start pushing.
It's either that or we all continue to be stuck here.
Update @ 9:23pm
I was going to leave the post at that but I've decided I have a little project for everyone. That project is to select the three issues that should define the Canadian conservative agenda for the next couple of years. The rules to the game are simple:
1) The issue must not be a guaranteed loser.
2) The issue must not split conservative and libertarian opinion.
Two rules. That's it. NOW GET TO IT!
Update @ 10:04pm
Apparently Greg's post was in response to a big fuss here between Norman Spector and Kathy Straidle. Bob has the roundup here. It's amazing how much a person can miss by being 'off-line' for a few days.
crossposted at The Shotgun
Saturday, December 18, 2004
On November 18th in Beirut, the International Association of Muslim Scholars (IAMS), issued the following statement.
"Resistance against coalition forces in Iraq is a personal duty of every Muslim who can carry it out, Iraqi or not.I can't say I agree with that statement, but let's pretend for a second that I do. What would be my next step be? Maybe I could get some guidance from the people who made the statement. Perhaps the IAMS could help me with the proper guidelines for carrying out a Jihad.
Well it turns out that the IAMS did supply some guidelines with their call to resistance, here are a few.
"It is forbidden to attack noncombatants, even if they belong to the attacking countries. The soul of man is sacred and an attack on it is an attack on all humanity. [This is because it says in Koran 5:32:] 'W hoever slays a soul, unless it be for manslaughter or for mischief in the land, it is as though he slew all men."
"Islam does not permit the capture or abduction of noncombatants. In the event that [noncombatants] are captured, Allah commanded [Muhammad] his Messenger to treat them well [as it says in Koran 76:8]: 'And they feed, for the love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive' [and Muhammad said] 'Treat prisoners well."
"It is forbidden to hold hostages and threaten the lives of noncombatants because of an action carried out or not carried out by others. [The hostages] are not to blame for this action, and they cannot prevent it. Allah said: ' N o bearer of burden shall bear the burden of another [Koran 6:164],' and the Prophet [Muhammad] said, 'A criminal will be punished only for his own deeds."
"The Prophet [Muhammad] forbade the killing of women and children, saying 'Do not kill a small child' and 'Do not kill descendants and simple laborers,' [i.e.] anyone who hires him to carry out services that are not connected to fighting. Similarly, Islam has forbidden the murder of hostages and [priests] who dedicate themselves to God.If I understand all those guidelines correctly, then the insurgents in Iraq are doing a real terrible job of following them. Cutting the heads off of innocents, killing Iraqi men, women and children with car bombs on a daily basis. Makes you wonder who's side they're on. Would Allah approve?
Thursday, December 16, 2004
The lead story at TNR today is that Dr. Phil is evil. The lead to the article asks: 'Is Phil McGraw destroying America?' Yikes.
I can't say that I know anything about Dr. Phil but I've noticed that alot of people totally loath the guy. I saw his show a couple of times and both shows were about the 'real desparate housewives'. The show seemed pretty typical of the daytime talk shows modeled on Oprah Winphrey's program.
So since I'm totally clueless in this regard can someone please explain to me what Dr. Phil did that was so terrible?
I'm going to add a little twist to my top 5 quotes list this year. All the quotes are going to be fictional. I'm going to make the list out of things that I wish people would have said, instead of the actual things they did say. I think it will be more fun that way.
1. - "Now that one of my trusted aides finally broke it to me that the U.S. missile defence shield actually is going to use land based interceptors, I will never use the phrase 'weaponization of space' again. Sorry for being such a pain in the ass." - Jack Layton
2. - "I hate President Bush more than I love cheeseburgers, because I believe he mislead the American people. Wait a second, that's what I do for a living too, I feel like such an idiot for not noticing sooner. I wonder if everybody will think I'm a hypocrite?" - Michael Moore
3. - "I took that beautiful engagement ring from the jewerly store, because I didn't want anyone to start to doubt that everyone in the NDP is a little screwy. And I consider it, mission accomplished!" - Svend Robinson
4. - "My son Kojo and I, had no involvement what so ever in the kickbacks-for-the U.N. scandal, oops, I mean the oil-for-food scandal. I'll repeat that again, just so its clear to everyone. Kojo and I had nothing to do with the kickbacks... Shit, I did it again, didn't I?" - Kofi Annan
5. - "My biggest problem with President Bush is when we were in kindergarten together, he broke my favorite red crayon! Since that moment, my psychiatrist told me that I haven't been able to move forward as a person. Severely hindering the chances of me being able to mature any since that tragic day. For that, I'll never forgive him." - Carolyn ParrishI whipped that list together pretty quick, and I probably missed out on making fun of someone. That plus I'm sure some of you can come up with some funnier ones than I did. If that's the case, just leave it in the comments. I'd love to read them.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Razi Azmi, a Pakistani journalist, explains why he is 'soft on Bush'. He ends with:
The world is now a much safer and a much more democratic place. Thanks to the unipolar world with America as the sole superpower, democracy is advancing while dictatorships are receding. Dictators who roamed with a swagger now scurry for cover. Disenfranchised people now feel empowered, from Afghanistan to Georgia, and from Iraq to Ukraine. Bush’s band of neo-cons is succeeding where his more illustrious predecessors failed; they act where others balked.[Via Davids Medienkritik]
Bush is not a threat to any democratic dispensation anywhere in the world. If he has made the world a trifle unsafe for thugs and dictators, he is to be commended. In any case, he will be gone sooner than we think. But terrorism in the name of Islam, which now stalks the world, is an unprecedented development in terms of magnitude, intensity, scope and danger. I can definitely live with Bush as US president — or as the world’s sole policeman — for eight years or longer, but would hate to spend even eight days under the Taliban’s theocracy, Saddam’s dictatorship or a regime of Ayatollahs. I have a strong feeling that the vast majority of people everywhere feel the same way.
Seeing as tourism was down on PEI this year, I figured I'd do my part and try to sell the Island a little bit and give out some free advertising for the tourist industry. Full story here
In recent news, the Island's only nudist resort, the Oasis Resort, have received permission from municipal authorities to expand their operation with a campground. The Island is open for business to all nudists, so come and enjoy PEI in the nude. But remember, only come in the summer, otherwise you may freeze your stuff.
That's good news for nudists! Apparently this is a growth industry, as owner and operator of the resort, Gary Lowther, states here.
"They're saying tourism is down, but this is a market that keeps going up,"Yup you heard the man, it "keeps going up", I wonder if he meant to use those exact words? Anyway, for anybody who was worried about how a small rural province would deal with a nudist resort, Jack McAndrew, a P.E.I. writer and commentator says its a non-issue.
"Nobody got drunk and ran through Cavendish in the nude, no horrible things resulted from it that anyone could document. So there is nothing to make a fuss about."So there you go, no trouble, no clothes, no worries. Just bring your money and the family to PEI and relax by the campfire, but remember, not too close to the fire. That is unless your trying to unfreeze your stuff.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
I have always thought that if the Palestinians were willing to use peaceful methods, instead of the violence favored by Yasser Arafat, they would of had a much better chance of getting their own state. Using nonlethal methods of protest would have put them on par with Israel in the eyes of much of the world, making a agreement between the two more likely. In the past it has been too easy to dismiss the Palestinian side because of their reliance on terrorism.
Sure terrorism got their cause noticed worldwide in the early years, but it should have been abandoned long ago in favor of a different and more peaceful route. Their leaders never prepared the people to move past the use of violence as the only means of getting a state. But lately, Mahmoud Abbas seems to be the man to lead the Palestinians to a brighter, more peaceful and prosperous future.
Last week Abbas apologized to Kuwait, because the Palestinians supported Saddam Hussein in the first gulf war. This week he is saying what so many already know, that the armed uprising of the last four years has been a mistake and that Palestinians should only use nonlethal means to acquire a state.
"The use of weapons is harmful and it should stop,"Its been a long time that I've waited to hear a leader of the Palestinian people say those words. Let's just hope that Abbas gets himself elected and has a strong mandate from his people to lead them in a more productive manner than the old corrupt leadership did. Peace depends on a strong and accountable Palestinian government.
It seems to me like its now or never for the Israelis and Palestinians to put the past behide themselves and cooperate on a future together. We can only hope that Abbas wins out over the likes of Hamas and the other rejectionist groups, because if he doesn't things are only going to get worse instead of better, and that is unthinkable.
crossposted to the Shotgun
Monday, December 13, 2004
Here is a follow up article, to Dana's post on how the British government is limiting the ability of homeowners to defend themselves in their own homes against burglars.
It seems that the British government is split on whether to give homeowners more freedom to defend their homes from criminal invasions. Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, seems to be in favor of the status quo,
"But we have to recognise that others have some rights as well. They don't lose all rights because they're engaged in criminal conduct."I tend to agree with the other side of the argument. I just can't seem to get my mind around giving a burglar or sex offender who has broke into your home the same rights as the homeowner.
"Of course all human beings have rights, but when somebody enters your home to commit a crime they give up a large portion of them."A home is sacred, a home is your sanctuary. For some low life to try and take that away from you is very serious, and whatever happens to them is good enough for them. A country's laws should be in favor of the homeowner, there's no doubt in my mind.
Here is a great quote from Michael Chrichton concerning our ability to predict the future:
Let's think back to people in 1900 in, say, New York. If they worried about people in 2000, what would they worry about? Probably: Where would people get enough horses? And what would they do about all the horses**t? Horse pollution was bad in 1900, think how much worse it would be a century later, with so many more people riding horses?Indeed.
But of course, within a few years, nobody rode horses except for sport. And in 2000, France was getting 80% its power from an energy source that was unknown in 1900. Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Japan were getting more than 30% from this source, unknown in 1900. Remember, people in 1900 didn't know what an atom was. They didn't know its structure. They also didn't know what a radio was, or an airport, or a movie, or a television, or a computer, or a cell phone, or a jet, an antibiotic, a rocket, a satellite, an MRI, ICU, IUD, IBM, IRA, ERA, EEG, EPA, IRS, DOD, PCP, HTML, internet. interferon, instant replay, remote sensing, remote control, speed dialing, gene therapy, gene splicing, genes, spot welding, heat-seeking, bipolar, prozac, leotards, lap dancing, email, tape recorder, CDs, airbags, plastic explosive, plastic, robots, cars, liposuction, transduction, superconduction, dish antennas, step aerobics, smoothies, twelve-step, ultrasound, nylon, rayon, teflon, fiber optics, carpal tunnel, laser surgery, laparoscopy, corneal transplant, kidney transplant, AIDS . . . None of this would have meant anything to a person in the year 1900. They wouldn't know what you are talking about.
Now. You tell me you can predict the world of 2100.
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Palestinian leader Mahmound Abbas has finally apologized to Kuwaitis on Sunday, for Palestinian support of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein after his army invaded Kuwait in 1990. Now Kuwait should do the same for evicting Palestinians from Kuwait after the war. It would only be right. Full story here
It may be a little late, but at least Abbas has stepped up and did the right thing. That's a lot more than I can say about that deceased scumbag, Yasser Arafat. So far, Abbas has shown he has what it takes to lead the Palestinians out of the cold and into a better situation. For their sake, I hope he continues this course.
[ Via Neale News ]
A great quote from one of David Warren's Arab correspondents:
If one has been occupied for some time by the Saud family, or the Assad family, or the Mubarak family, let alone the Hussein family, one begins rather to envy the sort of people who get to be occupied by the Bush family.I suspect that there are a lot of Arabs out there that would agree.
Saturday, December 11, 2004
I sure am glad I don't live in a socialist paradise, because I'm afraid, I'd have been murdered for the good of the cause long ago. Here are a couple of quotes that talk about how socialism usually leads to more death and destruction than paradise for many.
"They would speed the people, full steam ahead, along the route to socialism into the bright future. But the expectation was that for the sake of that bright future the majority of the population must be exterminated. Otherwise, because of its backwardness, it would only hinder entry into the socialist paradise."
"The tyrant grows from a root called popular representation. To begin with he smiles at and embraces all whom he meets... He promises much... But having become a tyrant and realizing that the citizens who made possible his elevation now condemn him... The tyrant will be forced willy-nilly to destroy those who condemn him, until he has neither friends nor enemies left."I find it very amusing that socialists think for the sake of equality, harmony and paradise, that people must be exterminated on a large scale. How screwy is that logic anyway?
Friday, December 10, 2004
A good article on Social Security privatization which is currently being discussed in the US.
Most of the authors points apply to Canada as well:
Today, we refer to Social Security as an "entitlement." In the 1930's, however, that was not the case. It was thought of as social insurance. The difference is significant.I don't particularly agree with the authors final conclusion but it is plenty valid.
In the 1930's, relatively few people lived significantly past the retirement age of 65. In those days, it would have been foolhardy to save enough to last until you were 80. But if everyone contributed to a collective pool, then we could insure that the few who lived long past retirement would not be destitute.
Since the 1930's, longevity has increased by more than a decade. However, the Social Security retirement age has been raised only a few years. As a result, Social Security no longer represents insurance for the unusually long-lived. It is now an "entitlement" for everyone.
Canada is going to have to make some radical changes at some point in the future to many of our social security programs. Like the author, you can't deny that providing need to the truely destitute is the right thing to do. It just irks me something terrible when I see people retiring in their fifties and early sixties so that they can play golf for 15 years. I don't mind the golf but knowing that my taxes are paying for their green fees just doesn't seem right.
A study out of France suggests that left-handed people may be more violent than those who are right-handed.
It's kind of hard to say how reliable the study is but their reasoning kind of makes sense.
My younger brother is left-handed but I'll leave it at that.
According to CTV two of our famous Snowbirds collided near Moose Jaw.
I saw the Snowbirds fly during a Canada Day celebration back as a kid on PEI and I haven't forgotten it to this day. The Snowbirds take great risks every day for the simple pleasure of creating these memorable moments that most of us will never forget.
My thoughts and prayers go out to each and every one of them.
It would be a lot of fun trying to explain this to some kids.
Couldn't they have at least taken the Santa outfits off before they went at it. Christmas spirit guys! Get with the program.
On the up side, it would have been an awesome sight to see a paddy-wagon full of roughed up Santas.
Well the fury should be coming from the federal government any time now. Private clinics in British Columbia are being asked to perform operations:
Private clinics on Vancouver Island are being asked to submit bids to perform operations normally done at public hospitals, a Vancouver Island Health Authority spokesman said on Thursday.So where is Paul Martin on his white horse? He must save us from this shameful disregard of Canadian sensibilities. These people must be forced to wait until the public system can perform these operations regardless of how long it takes. That's the Canadian way isn't it?
The Vancouver Island Health Authority is expecting to spend $2.1 million to perform more than 2,000 surgeries and 500 procedures at private clinics on Vancouver Island by next April, said authority spokesman Dr. Glen Lowther.
The health authority does not believe the call for more private surgeries will contribute to an erosion of Canada's public health care system, he said.
Where is the outrage? Indeed.
Here is this weeks obligatory VDH quote:
But gut-check time is coming for Europe, with its own rising unassimilated immigrant populations, rogue mosques entirely bent on destroying the West, declining birth rate and rising entitlements, the Turkish question, and a foreign policy whose appeasement of Arab regimes won it only a brief lull and plenty of humiliation. The radical Muslim world of the madrassas hates the United States because it is liberal and powerful; but it utterly despises Europe because it is even more liberal and far weaker, earning the continent not fear, but contempt.Like last week, and the week before, I'm in total agreement.
The real question is whether there is any Demosthenes left in Europe, who will soberly but firmly demand assimilation and integration of all immigrants, an end to mosque radicalism, even-handedness in the Middle East, no more subsidies to terrorists like Hamas, a toughness rather than opportunist profiteering with the likes of Assad and the Iranian theocracy — and make it clear that states that aid and abet terrorists in Europe due so to their great peril.
So will the old Ents awaken, or will they slumber on, muttering nonsense to themselves, lost in past grandeur and utterly clueless about the dangers on their borders?
Stay tuned — it is one of the most fascinating sagas of our time.
Thursday, December 09, 2004
A woman charged with harassing and stalking Matt Minglewood was found not criminally responsible for her actions by the court, because it was was found that she has a few mental disorders. Some of the disorders listed in court were schizophrenia, manic depression and psychosis.
I'm not trying to be mean here, but come on, she was stalking Matt Minglewood! Chances are, she has a few mental problems, don't you think? I hope it didn't take too long for the court to decide whether or not she was not criminally responsible for her actions. I just figured it would be a given.
Sure, Minglewood is a known Canadian artist and has won a few awards in his day, but who would have thought that he was stalker material. Usually only good looking people get stalked, like Catherine Zeta-Jones or Brad Pitt. I mean couldn't she have found someone better to stalk? I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so who am I to judge.
Sorry Mr. Minglewood, about the little rant, don't take my ramblings too personal. Just because I don't think your man pretty, doesn't mean other people don't. It's just my opinion, so keep your chin up.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Canada's special operations unit, Joint Task Force 2, has been awarded the U.S. Presidential Unit Citation for heroism in battle. It earned the citation for its exploits in Afghanistan. For anyone who knows about how Canadians have performed in battle throughout history, this is no surprise. Our boys have done us proud again! Full story here
Its too bad that Paul Martin has neglected the military, making the lives of our soldiers more difficult, depriving them of a capable lift capacity and other means for a elite force such has Joint Task Force 2 to deploy and do good around the globe. Whatever our soldiers lack in funding they make up in other areas, such as determination and bravery. Keep up the good work, Canada needs strong individuals like yourselves.
crossposted to The Shotgun
Update @ 5:15pm
The U.S. Presidential Unit Citation for heroism was not awarded to Joint Task Force 2 as a whole, but only to the individuals who took part in the stated action. The citation was awarded to Joint Special Operations Task Force-South (Task Force K-BAR) composed of US, British, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, German, Danish, and Norwegian special operations units.
Any additional information is always of value, thanks for the correction Dennis.
My wife sent this to me today:
Little Melissa comes home from first grade and tells her father that they learned about the history of Valentine's Day. "Since Valentine's Day is for a Christian saint and we're Jewish," she asks,"will God get mad at me for giving someone a valentine?"What a sweetie.
Melissa's father thinks a bit, 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 American Jewish 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."; "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 with pride 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, the Marines could blow the shit out of him."
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
This week edition of the Red Ensign Standard, which includes posts from both Dana and I, is being hosted over at Ravishing Light. There are lots of good bloggers being featured in this week's edition, so if you have any free time at all, go and give it a look. There is lots of good reading.
Got an e-mail today from someone, it gives the top 10 tips for eating during the holidays, and seeing how much I enjoy eating at Christmas or anytime for that matter, I thought I'd post them for you. Believe me folks, these are words to live by, so read them carefully.
1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.
2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine single-malt scotch, it's rare. In fact, it's even rarer than single-malt scotch. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-aholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!
3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.
4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.
5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?
6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.
7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the centre of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.
8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labour Day?
9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.
10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.
Here's a thought to leave you with as holiday season approaches, now that our over protective government is starting to worry about what kind of foods we are eating, this could be the last Christmas before all fattening foods are banned outright? So this could be our last chance to stuff our faces, so you better make it a good one.
People who are against the missile defense shield, seem to be awfully concerned about having weapons in space. Why is that? With all the world's countries combined, they enough nuclear and conventional weapons to kill everybody on the planet several times over, so why are these people so anal about having a few weapons in space? Space based weapons are not going to make us less safe, you can only die once you know.
Is the United States supposed to sit back and stagnate their weapons technology, so that larger nations like China can catch up and surpass them in military strength? Or sit back and let smaller nations like Iran and North Korea intimidate whom ever they please?
I don't know about you, but I like having America as the world's strongest power, its too bad Canada doesn't play a larger roll in world affairs, but we only have ourselves to blame for that. To tell you the truth, I'm not very fussy about having my life in the hands of the Chinese politburo or on the whims of Kim Jong-Il. That scares me a lot more than having weapons in space.
Monday, December 06, 2004
In the 'not quite what they had in mind' department we have Iranian students heckling the Iranian president:
Students chanted "Shame on you" and "Where are your promised freedoms?" to express their frustration with the failure of Iran's reform movement.In tribute to these fine young men and women I'm putting up a permanent link to the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran. I should have put this up long ago.
A visibly-shaken Khatami defended his record and criticised the powerful hardliners who have closed newspapers and jailed dissidents.
He asked students to stop heckling and accused his critics of intolerance.
But student leader Abdollah Momeni complained that there was is no difference between the president and the authoritarians who thwarted his reform programme.
"Students are very disappointed because they paid a heavy price for supporting Khatami, but in return they got nothing," he is quoted as saying by Reuters.
A statement distributed by one pro-reform student group at the meeting said: "Unfortunately what Khatami sees as his tolerance was his extreme weakness towards the opponents of democracy".
William Saletan over at Slate writes on what may be an acceptable solution on the subject of stem-cell research. He provides two solutions to the stem-cell debate. The second, I would be opposed to under any circumstances:
The distinction Hurlbut wants to draw and exploit is between a whole embryo and its parts. He quotes Thomas Aquinas to the effect that an animal's life resides in its wholeness. "A living being is more than the sum of its parts," he argues. But while humanity may lie in the whole, utility may lie in the parts. As Hurlbut puts it in his presentation paper, "Incompletely constituted or severed from the whole, subsystems with partial trajectories of development may temporarily proceed forward with a certain biological momentum." In other words, the parts of an embryo—or the parts that normally would become an embryo—might produce stem cells, even if, to avoid the moral problem, we kept these parts incomplete or severed.Hurlbut in this case is basically trying to pull an ethical or theological trick. I can't imagine this idea in any way resolving the debate. And anyways... like ick!
How could we create functioning parts of an embryo without the whole? By turning off one of the genes that guide embryo formation. Hurlbut's first choice is the human equivalent of cdx2, the gene in mice that directs the formation of the placenta. Without cdx2, the embryonic mouse cells divide but fail to take the shape of a mouse. The plan would be to follow the recipe for cloning—put the nucleus of a body cell into a gutted egg cell—but turn off cdx2. Then, once the cell begins to divide, reactivate the gene, too late to organize the embryo but early enough to make stem cells.
The first proposal seems like it would be much more acceptable to all sides of the debate:
The first, by Drs. Donald Landry and Howard Zucker of Columbia University, proposes that we take stem cells from embryos at the same point at which we take organs from children and adults: right after they die. All we have to do is agree on the point at which an embryo is dead. Landry suggests that this point is "the irreversible arrest of cell division," which conveniently applies to huge numbers of embryos frozen in IVF clinics. With further study, he argues, we can clarify the signs of irreversible arrest, which will tell us when it's kosher to start yanking stem cells. He cites an experiment in which stem cells from arrested frog embryos were injected into normal frog embryos. Twenty-five percent of the cells began to divide again and were absorbed into the new embryos.Without going to deep into the proposal, on the face of it, it seems quite reasonable. It is basically an extension of our current 'organ donor' laws which we have come to accept. Any thoughts on this? I'll give it a bit more thought over the next few days and see what I come up with.
I should mention that over the long term I really have fears about where our knowledge of genetics could lead us. Are we ready to create the 'brave new man'? What won't we screen for or modify in order to 'improve' the lives of our children? Teenagers already get plastic surgery with the consent of their parents and lets be realistic here: most people will go to some scarey extremes in order to help their children. How far will tomorrow's parents go?
Regardless of the long term considerations, have Landry and Zucker provided a viable solution to the stem-cell debate as it is currently argued?
crossposted to The Shotgun
In a recent survey, it appears that Atlantic Canadians are the most generous when it comes to gift giving time at Christmas. Diane Brisebois, president and CEO of the Retail Council of Canada is not surprised by the findings of the survey. Full story here
"There is no question that we certainly sense through the different surveys done over the years that there is a very big tradition in Atlantic Canada of families and friends gathering together during the holidays,"It's goes to show you the type of people we are here in Atlantic Canada, we lead the poll not only in generosity, but also how much we enjoy family gatherings and office parties. But I have to wonder if the results of this poll are because, we have less to do than the more urban parts of Canada, or is it simply because of our solid up bringing and stronger family values?
I tend to think its a combination of the two, Maritimers typically have a more rural up bringing than most Canadians. This leaves us with less to do for entertainment than people in the bigger cities and communities across Canada, which makes us rely more on family and friends. I think that our environment in which we are raised, puts us in a position to be more family orientated. But if anyone has some insight into the subject, feel free to post a comment.
[ Via Breaking Canadian News ]
Gun control doesn't work. Nuff said. Britain is rethinking it's laws after they've created a disaster by preventing people from defending themselves when in their own homes.
Britain has created an environment where defending oneself at home can lead to fines and possible time in prison. Now I don't know about you but if I wake up to find someone in my home the last thing I want to be do is take some time to consider the legal ramifications of my actions. Such laws are one of the greatest intrusions into our liberties. The ability to defend oneself, especially in our own homes, is one of the pillars of our society. Without it, nothing else really matters.
The state cannot defend you in such instances. We know it. And the government knows it.
As this story shows, Europe is becoming more dangerous that America due to what many people believe is Europe's efforts to disarm it's population. In Britain, in particular, the government wants you to be a victim. By creating such a legal environment they actively encourage people to hide in their homes in fear of their surroundings.
Canada hopefully won't go as far down the path of victimhood as Britain has. Our first step back to sanity may come soon with a group of Liberal backbenchers planning to scrap the gun registry.
It can't come soon enough.
[Via NORMAN'S SPECTATOR]
In 'Big Brother Knows What's Best' news we have:
And what about logic? In Canada, tobacco products are freely sold, even though they are noxious and a major cause of cancers. Alcohol is also freely sold, even though it can lead to countless diseases. And now Parliament intends to decriminalize the use of pot, which can be harmful to teenagers. The country's leaders, meanwhile, are all worked up about Oreo cookies. This is more than illogical — it's ridiculous!I believe this quote is from an article by Lysiane Gagnon but I don't have a subscription (and I don't plan on getting on) to The Globe And Mail so I can't be sure.
Saturday, December 04, 2004
The answer to the title's question seems to be yes. Here are a few quotes from Tyler Golson, an english teacher who works in Damascus, who just happens to be a Kerry supporter.
"Since I began teaching in Damascus six months ago, I have been continually surprised to find support and even admiration for Bush in that city, mixed in with the usual polemics about American imperialism. The presumed wildfire of anti-American and anti-Bush sentiment that has consumed much of Europe and Asia has apparently skipped over parts of the Arab world,"
"I came to realize something that the Democrats could never admit: that there exists a support base for both the Republicans' domestic and foreign agenda among the very people we thought most opposed current U.S. policy."Very strange indeed, Syrians like President Bush more than Canadians, Europeans and millions of Americans do. The very people that are supposedly being attack by Bush, like him more than the people that he is defending. Makes you wonder.
crossposted to The Shotgun
Today I've made a life altering decision. I am officially breaking up with the NHL, I wish that I could give them the old, it's not you it's me routine, but that would be a lie, the NHL is 100% to blame and I'm not afraid to say it. This relationship has been a one sided affair for too long, I've been neglected and taken for granted. If the NHL were an actual women, I would have ended the relationship long ago, so why have I stayed faithful this long? I guess the NHL is all I ever knew.
I've canceled my TV package, my magazine subscriptions, took my favorite team's web address out of my favorites and declared that I will not send another dollar on the league again. I am sick and tired of hearing players, owners and agents talk about how they only want what's fair for themselves. I guess I just have reached the point where I don't care about the teams or players anymore.
So this post is just to let all you selfish bastards that are involved with this work stoppage know, that I'm done as an NHL fan. I'll still watch some local hockey, but my sports interest is going to be elsewhere. Losing one fan my not make much of a dent in anybody's pocket book, but I hope there's more like me that make the NHL and the NHLPA pay for their selfish behavior.
Now I look forward to Saturday for a different reason, I was always a casual fan of the English Premiership and have been a supporter of Chelsea for years, now soccer has taken over hockey's place in my heart. And with Roman Abramovich taking over ownership of the team, its like I've won the lotto! Nothing is going to stop the Blues, especially those wankers from Newcastle, right Damian.
Friday, December 03, 2004
David Warren writes in The Demons:
What we see on the streets of Ottawa, instead, is an almost pure fanaticism -- that radical spirit of alienation that ultimately motivates the Jihadis, too. This nihilism is the splinter in the heart of our modernity; it rejects everything; it proposes, finally, nothing in its place. It is the devil himself speaking out of his void, leading finally to the silence of Iago.David raises a very good question: Are those capable of equating George Bush with Adolf Hitler evil? Or alternatively: Are those who feel no joy in the fact that the Taliban and Saddam Hussein are no longer in power evil?
To understand it, we must look into the very faces contorted with rage, and the mouths uttering the vilest obscenities. The evil is not coming from outside them: it is instead welling from the void within.
And yet the tragedy of these people -- whose fanaticism puts them beyond the pale of give-and-take in party politics, and whose views, should they spread, would take the whole democratic order down with them -- is that they know even less about themselves than they know about the world they condemn. They are angry, but finally they don't know why.
They don't believe in evil, as a category; yet it haunts them externally on every side: "Bush" being only the straw man of the moment. And unlike the actual Mr. Bush, they do not believe in grace, either. They see evil everywhere. They rail, and they rail.
In asking this question I don't mean evil in the 'torturing of cute puppies' sense. I mean evil in the sense that their actions lead to evil prevailing when principled and moral action could prevent it. As the saying goes the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn't exist.
And as David says, there are principled and rational reasons to oppose many of George Bush's foreign policies. Why then did the protestors we saw in Ottawa this week not voice them?
Is ignoring an evil deed as bad as commiting one?
crossposted at The Shotgun
As impressive as the Internet is, sometimes it leaves you just shaking your head. My case in point are the 'Ads by Google' you'll find in the sidebar.
Since I put them up most of the ads have been related to political or social matters. Normally it contains ads for newpapers, articles people have published, and other such stuff.
Anyways, after I put up this post complaining about CIBC all the ads are for CIBC and other banking related sites.
Should this not be considered bad 'netiquette'?
Thursday, December 02, 2004
How big a screw up would you have to be for Jack Layton and the NDP party of Canada, to not want you in their party? A major league screw I figure, so where does that leave Carolyn Parrish? Because it seems even Jack Layton doesn't even want her around. Full story here
[ Via Neale News ]
When something is put in writing we like to say that 'it is official'. Well I'm disappointed to say that The Netherlands has officially declared itself to be a sick society. According to the article:
Under the Groningen protocol, if doctors at the hospital think a child is suffering unbearably from a terminal condition, they have the authority to end the child's life. The protocol is likely to be used primarily for newborns, but it covers any child up to age 12.The parent's wishes 'most likely would be considered'! Oh my God! I can't believe that a debate is even needed about such a thing. How can these people are considering allowing unelected bureaucrats to determine whether their children are 'fit to live'?
The hospital, beyond confirming the protocol in general terms, refused to discuss its details.
"It is for very sad cases," said a hospital spokesman, who declined to be identified. "After years of discussions, we made our own protocol to cover the small number of infants born with such severe disabilities that doctors can see they have extreme pain and no hope for life. Our estimate is that it will not be used but 10 to 15 times a year."
A parent's role is limited under the protocol. While experts and critics familiar with the policy said a parent's wishes to let a child live or die naturally most likely would be considered, they note that the decision must be professional, so rests with doctors.
Any country that would allow their government to determine whether their children live or die is beyond reproach. I'm totally speechless...
Anyone out there from the Netherlands? What's wrong with you?
I'm going to go and cry for a while.
[Via The Weekly Standard]
Update @ 2:16pm
For more on this check out The Diplomad.
Throughout history art has been a defining feature of all civilizations. Sculptures, painting, and buildings, are some of the only things that remain of the great civilizations and cultures of the past. Michealangelo, Raffaello, da Vinci, and Rembrandt each left a defining mark on history. Because of their work, they will be forever remembered as exceptional people of history.
Many people complain about modern art and how it doesn't compare to the passion and dedication exhibited in the works of the past. To resolve this debate once and for all I present you with... this. I'm not an art aficionado but this just makes it look like the modern world isn't even trying.
crossposted at The Shotgun
Is anybody else getting sick of hearing Jack Layton talk about the weaponization of space? He just can't seem to shut up about it. The NDP are even claiming that Mr. Layton is suffering from "systematic harassment" at the hands of Liberal and Conservative MPs when he raises questions in the house.
Maybe Mr. Layton wouldn't be harassed, if every second sentence out of his mouth wasn't about the weaponization of space. He's like a broken record, he just goes on and on. I think we should send Mr. Layton, as Canada's representation, to outer space on a permanent assignment until he finds some weapons. Wouldn't that be a good idea?
Maybe Mr. Layton is just a strong supporter of preemptive air strikes, to combat the threat of nuclear attack. Maybe Mr. Layton is all for the bombing of all nuclear related sites that Iran and North Korea have. Maybe he thinks that would be easier and cheaper than actually building a missile shield. Could it be that Jack just wants the simplest solution to an emerging problem?
crossposted to The Shotgun
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
[Via The Times of Winnipeg]
And people like this wonder why I make fun of them. How clueless can they possibly be.
I used to get mad at people like this. Not anymore! Rude jokes and insults are much more fun.
The Telegraph editorial today talks about how Britains are now working for the government instead of for themselves. This really caught my attention:
Not only is the public sector in the grip of the unions, with high rates of absenteeism (Tube staff were recently awarded 52 days a year holiday by Ken Livingstone), but incentives do not work in the way they do in the private sector. There is no profit motive injecting dynamism into the workplace and no proper accountability. As for humble taxpayers, they have no choice but to pay up and accept what they are given.52 days vacation? What the bloody hell? I most definitely got into the wrong line of work.
The Telegraph also has this story about the divergent lifestyles between London and New York:
Then a mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, had the courage to endorse the idea and stake his political credibility on it. Then a tirelessly dedicated police chief put the idea into practice, even though it meant flying in the face of all the liberal received wisdom about softly-softly justice and not "criminalising" people who had committed minor offences, blah-blah-blah.And Europeans have the nerve to say their cities are so much safer than American ones. Yeah right.
You will have noticed that this is precisely the opposite of what is happening here. Try ringing the police to tell them about an act of vandalism that is going on before your eyes and you will be treated with scarcely concealed ridicule: we've got more important things to worry about than some kids smashing up a building site. Never mind that the kids who have got away with that are likely to conclude that they can get away with pretty much anything.
Now New Yorkers have their city back and we are losing ours. And yesterday's horrific news showed the extent to which we are all in this together, from the derelict council estates in Tower Hamlets to millionaires' row in Chelsea. When I spoke to Bratton a couple of years ago, his proudest boast was that they had brought normal social life back to Harlem.
Most of the population used to stay in at night up there, he said. They just left the streets to the bad guys with their guns and their drug turf wars. But now, there were restaurants and night clubs and movie theatres where ordinary decent people went for a good time in the evening. They have been freed from fear all the way from the Battery to the top of Park Avenue. When is it our turn?
Kathy Shaidle from RelapsedCatholic.com has a good take (free registration required) on Canada/US relations:
This morning, news of Mr. Bush's imminent landing was dwarfed on newspaper front pages by the announced winner of The Greatest Canadian contest: Tommy Douglas, the prairie politician who's the grandfather of that socialized health-care system I mentioned before.Go read it all.
Waiting time in a Montreal emergency ward is more than 36 hours, MRI machines are practically illegal, and World War II veterans get hip replacements two years after diagnosis (assuming they haven't died in the interim) – but, hey, free Canadian health care is the greatest thing in the world! A government entitlement that stinks . That's our proudest accomplishment.
Most Canadians will mutter good riddance when the president flies away. The sooner he goes back to his "horrible country" – the one that protects us (because our underfunded military can't) and invents the cool stuff we can't afford (because our taxes are so high) and produces people with energy, vision and pride – the sooner we can go back to feeling superior.
I dread having to say this it but it seems that Allan Rock is talking common sense these days:
During an annual debate on the question of Palestine, Mr. Rock said Canada will vote Wednesday against two key resolutions on which it has abstained in the past, lining up with the United States, often the only major power to defend Israel at the United Nations.It is nice to see that Canada is finally standing up for fairness and common sense when it comes to UN resolutions against Israel. Israel isn't perfect and in no way deserves a free pass when it comes to it's actions. The UN though must realize that it won't be able to recover it's reputation until the one sided comdemnations of Israel stop.
"We believe that the time has come, especially given the renewed hope for the peace process, to evaluate the efforts that all of us make at the United Nations to determine if they could be redirected towards more constructive outcomes," Mr. Rock said.
Mr. Rock said General Assembly resolutions on the Middle East are "often divisive and lack in balance" because they condemn Israeli violence but play down attacks against Israeli civilians.
"References to Israeli security needs are often overlooked in the General Assembly. Repeatedly emphasizing Israel's responsibility under international law obscures equally important responsibilities of other parties to the conflict."
The UN appears to be coming apart at the seams. There are calls for Kofi Annan's resignation, Canada is finally starting to show that it has a backbone, the Security Council looks like it will receive a makeover, and the oil-for-food investigations continue.
I wonder if these are indications that the UN cares enough to try and save itself? Or perhaps these are final gasps before it becomes totally irrelevant? It will certainly be an interesting couple of months for Kofi and the gang.
crossposted at The Shotgun