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Monday, February 28, 2005
Does this explain why Europeans, in general, are thinner than North Americans:
According to major surveys from both nations, the percentage of French women who smoke is five points higher than the percentage of American women. Researchers have dismissed this difference as statistically insignificant.I'm sure you noticed that the French love to make fun of those 'fat' Americans? I wonder why the Americans never make fun of the French and their habit for smoking?
A stark gap emerges, however, if you compare elites from both countries. In America, where cigarettes now have a loser image, only about one-tenth of those with college and graduate degrees smoke, compared with about 40 percent of high school dropouts. But in France, nearly a third of upper-income earners smoke, a slightly higher percentage than in the lower classes.
So those chic uppercrust French women trotting around not getting fat smoke far more than their American counterparts.
Of course, kicking the habit is fattening - quitters gain six to nine pounds on average. Not that I'm suggesting that America is so Rubenesque because we gave up smoking. (We're just big-boned!)
To be fair to the French - not as if I should be - they are smoking less than they used to. But it can't be just a coincidence that they're also worrying more about obesity. The point is, if sensuous eating works so well, why does the most beautiful woman in France smoke to stay slim?
Could it be that Americans are more polite than the French or do they just have better things to do with their time?
Sunday, February 27, 2005
Did you ever get the brilliant idea that you'ld like to get your act together and try and learn something new? Well I've had one of those moments recently.
Last week I decided that I'ld like to learn to play chess again. I used to play a little bit, I wasn't very good but I was just good enough that I could convince other people that I knew what I was doing.
Anyways my brilliant idea has bitten me in the ass. I suck! I don't mean that I'm bad, I'm an embarrassment.
Thursday night I downloaded a chess program that allows me to play against players with various Elo ratings and weaknesses. Anyways, I've been playing computer opponents with Elo ratings around 1400-1600 and I don't think I've won a match yet.
Friday, February 25, 2005
I wasn't going to link to this photo of Condoleezza Rice but I just couldn't help myself:
Damn! I'm probably not the first to say it but she is, without a doubt, the hottest Secretary of State you Americans have ever had. She beats out Madeleine Albright by just a hair. No?
Anyways, it's no wonder G.W. hangs out with her so much.
The Economist has a nice piece about the flowering of television news coverage in Arabic countries:
Nearly all Arab states maintain terrestrial broadcasting monopolies (Iraq and Lebanon being the exceptions). By and large, however, the Arab public has exercised technology's gift of choice to leave the dowdy old state channels in the lurch. Sniffing this wind, many of the region's ubiquitous ministries of information have launched their own satellite channels. The Egyptian government's mammoth media organ, for example, boasts no fewer than 25. Satellite competition has also persuaded state broadcasters to offer flashier graphics, more field reporting and coverage of leaders that is less adulatory.The most important point here is that an Arab can now properly see how other Arabs live. Instead of the state controlling his perceptions of the outside world now he does.
None of this, however, can contain the impact on Arab media consumers of an ever-widening range of choice. It is one thing to learn of different, perhaps attractive, lifestyles in foreign cultures by way of Hollywood movies; it is quite another to see them being practised next door. Even the most purdahed of Saudi women are liable to observe that driving cars, forbidden to them, is quite normal for their sisters not only in distant, decadent America, but also in nearby Kuwait or Dubai. Syrians or Egyptians can see that real elections take place not just in rich Christian Europe, but in neighbouring Palestine and Iraq. Such innovations are no longer perhaps just for people “like them”, but for people “like us”.
In the long run this can only be a good thing. Every election will drive calls for another election. And no matter how illegitimate an election may be, it will still drive calls for improvement. Each Arab country will now influence the others due to the personal interactions of their people.
And no longer can a tyrant claim that democracy is only for "them". That era ended years ago. And for the Arab world... it won't be coming back.
The entire idea of "9/11 Republicans" has kind of intrigued me since the term first starting showing up. The idea that people may have re-evaluated their political and/or cultural beliefs based on that day isn't quite what interests me, it is more the personal transformation itself.
Nealenews links to an opinion piece by Cinnamon Stillwell where Stillwell explains his place in the world since the events of 9/11:
Thoroughly disgusted by the behavior of those on the left, I began to look elsewhere for support. To my astonishment, I found that the only voices that seemed to me to be intellectually and morally honest were on the right. Suddenly, I was listening to conservative talk-show hosts on the radio and reading conservative columnists, and they were making sense. When I actually met conservatives, I discovered that they did not at all embody the stereotypes with which I'd been inculcated as a liberal.I suspect that this is a fairly typical response that some people have to earth shattering events. This of course probably takes place to certain degrees on both the left and the right of the political spectrum.
Although my initial agreement with voices on the right centered on the war on terrorism, I began to find myself in concurrence with other aspects of conservative political philosophy as well. Smaller government, traditional societal structures, respect and reverence for life, the importance of family, personal responsibility, national unity over identity politics and the benefits of living in a meritocracy all became important to me. In truth, it turns out I was already conservative on many of these subjects but had never been willing to admit as much.
Being quite conservative myself, I find it interesting how those who go from the left to the right always mention how surprised they are when they realize that righties aren't all crazy, ignorant, and bigoted. The notion that those from the right of the political spectrum could be anything else never seems to have occured to them.
I bring this up because I suspect it would less likely that a person with a conservative belief system would be able to have a similar transformation. From my own experience I view a young person with leftie views as either naive, ill-informed, brain-washed, or downright self-destructive. As for older lefties... well I just feel sorry for them.
It's as if they never really grew up.
Thursday, February 24, 2005
Well the idea of tax relief in this years budget just got flushed down the toilet. Based on yesterday's budget:
An Ontario resident earning $80,000 a year would pay about $195 less in taxes in 2009 than he or she would have otherwise, said Tim Cestnick, managing director of national tax services for mutual fund company AIC Ltd. "The savings amount to about a cup of coffee a week."Ah gee... thanks guys.
Our esteemed Finance Minister, Mr. Goodale claims:
"I am announcing today a set of new measures that will provide further relief to tax payers — especially low-and-most income Canadians, as specifically recommended by this House last fall," he said.So his idea of tax relief is $195 dollars in the year 2009? What particular weed are you smoking there Ralph? And while I'm at it, what the hell does "low-and-most income Canadians" mean?
Altogether it hasn't been a good year for taxpayers in Ontario. First we had Dalton McGuinty implementing a health levy of up to $900. According to the McGuinty and the Ontario Liberals it wasn't a tax increase.
Now we have a tax cut that amounts to $195 in a couple of years.
Either I've got to read the dictionary a bit more often or Liberals speak a different languange than I do.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Today's public service message is... don't do this:
An elderly Thai monk who mistook a tube of superglue for eye drops can see again after doctors unglued one eye.That would really get your day off to a bad start.
Phra Kru Prapatworakhun, 81, had been unable to see for nearly a week after applying the superglue, which he found in his temple's medicine cabinet.
Doctors used acetone solvent to remove the glue from one eye and said it was unharmed, the Nation newspaper reports.
An operation on the second eye, which is still tightly sealed, is scheduled for Thursday.
Michael J. Totton looks back at the casualities of the Iraq war. He notes that over the last couple of years both the anti-war and the pro-war camps have had to deal with setbacks. From the anti-war side he quotes Jeff Simmermon:
"You may think that you have felt dumb before, but let me tell you something: until you have stood in front of a man who knows real pain and told him that you are against your country's alleviation of his country's state-sponsored murderous suffering, you have not felt truly, deeply, like a total fucking moron.Now I don't necessarily care for the 'Rove is as evil as they come' bit but at least Simmermon is reconsidering his past positions.
"I still am no Bush fan, and I know that America got lied to. I know we shouldn't have gone, and I think Rove is as evil as they come. But through all this deception and lying, through all this dismemberment and pain, America has wrought a beautiful, fantastic side effect: joy, freedom and a hope for peace. Does it take lies and misdirection to do this?? Is this what the other side of justice is? I feel like such a whiner and I don't know what to think anymore. Ultimately, in total defiance of my mother and grandmother's teachings, two wrongs have made a right and my moral compass is tired and busted."
As for the pro-war folks Totton notes that the Abu Ghraib scandal was what rocked the moral foundation of the pro-war folks. I personally don't agree with this. Either Totton was naive about war in general or he made unrealistic promises to people.
War is war. During WWII there were cases of Canadian soldiers shooting German prisoners on the spot. Of course we can say that this is wrong but can any of us say that we are truely surprised by it.
The same applies to American soldiers today. Bad shit happens, and in every group of people there will be some bad apples. How could this simple fact have surprised Totton or anyone else for that matter?
As embarrasing as Abu Ghraib was for the American forces, we should appreciate the fact that what happened there was considered the low point of the entire operation. Given the history of war, Abu Ghraib in fact reinforces how professional the American military actually is.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
There is an interesting story at The Hindustan Times about the Pakistani army being given orders to shoot at American forces crossing over from Afganistan:
In what is seen as the first signal of Pakistan's assertion against US policies in its area, Islamabad has ordered the army to shoot at US troops if they intrude into the country from Afghanistan without authorisation.Based on the story it appears that Musharraf is under pressure due to American intentions with Iran:
"Pakistan has issued new rules of engagement permitting its army to fire at US forces that cross the border from Afghanistan without coordinating first," the Daily Times newspaper said Tuesday in a report from Washington.
The Pakistan president is also said to be unhappy about the recent abrupt withdrawal of Predators and other surveillance resources from Pakistan for transfer to Iraq for use against Iran, the report said.None of this is particularly suprising given the situation in Pakistan but it does help to explain all those UFO sightings in Iran.
Quoting high-level Pakistani sources, it said Musharraf and his army chiefs "expended a great deal of political capital" in their support of the Al-Qaeda hunt, clashing frequently with hostile tribesmen along the border.
"The US Central Command's January announcement that the drones and other supporting surveillance technologies that were being used against Al-Qaeda would be withdrawn to support 'elections in Iraq' was an unpleasant surprise, particularly when 'in Iraq' turned out to be a euphemism for 'against Iran'," it added.
Anyone who visits here regularly, knows that I love anything that Mark Steyn puts to paper. Sure his material is usually on the depressing side (i.e. you get more disgusted with the world each time you nod your head in agreement) but his ability to insert some humour into a debate is amazing.
Well I suspect that Mark isn't in the jolliest of modes these days. His latest piece isn't the least bit funny:
America and Europe both face security threats. But the difference is America's are external, and require hard choices in tough neighbourhoods around the world, while the EU's are internal and, as they see it, unlikely to be lessened by the sight of European soldiers joining the Great Satan in liberating, say, Syria. That's not exactly going to help keep the lid on the noisier Continental mosques.If anyone else had written that last sentence I wouldn't have dwelled on it so much. Regardless, it kind of struck me... well I just kept repeating it over and over.
So what would you do in Bush's shoes? Slap 'em around a bit? What for? Where would it get you? Or would you do exactly what he's doing? Climb into the old soup-and-fish, make small talk with Mme Chirac and raise a glass of champagne to the enduring friendship of our peoples: what else is left? This week we're toasting the end of an idea: the death of "the West".
The death of 'the West'. What exactly does that mean? The death of us? Or is it simply the death of an idea, easily replaced with another?
Did those present during the fall of the Greek states lament the death of 'the West'? Did the citizens of Rome feel the barbarian invasions meant the death of 'the West'? Did the Spaniards fleeing from the Moors predict the death of 'the West'?
I'm certainly not qualified to answer any of these questions but if I had to hazard a guess I would suspect in all cases that they didn't. History is local. It always has been. The idea of 'the West' is simply too much for people to grasp. Sure you have historians who can string the narrative together but the narrative only fits if history allows it to.
Would we still consider Europe and America as part of the same 'West' if the Nazi's had won World War II? Would we have considered Europe and America part of the same 'West' if Communism had overtaken Europe after World War II? I suspect in both cases that we wouldn't and I suspect that most people reading this would agree with me.
So what does this all mean? Honesty I have no idea. Heck I don't even know where I'm going with this. I could read a thousand books about 'the West' and yet I doubt that even then I would feel like I understood it.
The situation in Europe does depress me because I honestly do feel that we are seeing the end of an era of history. I'm still not ready to proclaim the death of 'the West' like Mark is but I do feel that the world is rapidly changing underneath me.
I guess that the only positive way I can look at all this is to consider that history unwinds in the most unexpected ways. The concept of a 'free man' with rights originated over 2000 years ago in Greece. And today? All over the world we find that the most brutal of dictators must speak the language of freedom and democracy. The idea of a 'free man', isolated to Europe 500 years ago, now infects the entire globe. Could this have all been an accident?
Could an idea that spans 2000 years now be at it's end? Or alternatively... does the idea need Europe?
crossposted to The Shotgun
Monday, February 21, 2005
We're all going to die!
Alright, I'm sorry if that seemed like I was making fun because I certainly wasn't. In the grand scheme of things, nature has been pretty kind to us bipeds the last few decades and nature is nothing if it isn't a bitch.
And just to preempt any stupidity out there, the epidemic won't be a punishment from God.
And it'll have nothing to do with infidels either.
An American study by the United States Agricultural Research Service claims that vegan diets affects the mental and physical development of children:
Professor Allen said: "There have been sufficient studies clearly showing that when women avoid all animal foods, their babies are born small, they grow very slowly and they are developmentally retarded, possibly permanently."Now I don't know anything about the study but the response by the Vegan Society in the UK, in no way addresses the concerns that the study highlights:
"If you're talking about feeding young children, pregnant women and lactating women, I would go as far as to say it is unethical to withhold these foods [animal source foods] during that period of life."
She was especially critical of parents who imposed a vegan lifestyle on their children, denying them milk, cheese, butter and meat.
"There's absolutely no question that it's unethical for parents to bring up their children as strict vegans," she told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
In a statement, it said increasing numbers of people were opting for a plant-based diet.Bursting with goodness? What the hell kind of response is that?
Kostana Azmi, the chief executive officer, said: "The vegan diet can provide you with more energy, nutrition, and is bursting with goodness."
She said plant sources were sometimes a safer, and cheaper source of nutrients.
For instance, animal sources of omega-3 oils, needed for the development of the brain and nervous system, were often contaminated with pollutants, such as mercury in fish.
In addition, the vegan diet was often a healthier alternative. She said dairy and meat products were rich in saturated fat, while plant based diets were low in it.
The society does recommend that vegans supplement their diet with vitamin B-12 pills.
The US Agricultural Research Service is part of the US Department of Agriculture.
I was watching a commercial for a local television station (sorry I can't remember which one) and they were talking about plans to upgrade the Ottawa International Airport. You wouldn't be amiss to wonder why a newly built airport would require upgrades.
So what is the problem with the new airport? Well it seems that our ruling elite are sick of standing next to the great unwashed masses.
Plans are to build a new terminal to service government officials coming and going in those swanky new Challenger jets the government so badly needed. The terminal would include a first class lounge and all the amenities our elite require when they travel.
Has our government become so detached from the people it governs that it doesn't want to wait for a flight with them? And lets be serious, waiting in the first class lounge isn't exactly 'mixing it up with the people'. I've flown out of the Ottawa airport plenty of times and every time a government minister was on the plane they were always flying first class. And to be even more to the point, I'm sure the money for the first class ticket upgrade didn't come out of the ministers chequing account either.
But I guess every country needs it's elite. How else would things get done without them? All of us people flying ecomony class couldn't possibly understand the pressures our elite suffer from and the long working hours they put into their jobs.
Of course we couldn't. We are the great unwashed after all.
crossposted to The Shotgun
Sunday, February 20, 2005
I don't often fisk articles but this useless blather left me breathless. Justin Webb of the BCC uses his brilliant insight to explain the differences between Europe and America.
First we have the usual attempt to make Americans look stupid:
Amid the stunning snow-capped mountains, a far more open vista than in the Alps, we talked of Camilla and Charles, Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.Oh how witty! See the Americans have no idea that an airport couldn't have been built before a couple of old landmarks! I wonder if Mr Webb considered that they noticed his slip of the tongue, assumed it was an innocent mistake, and out of politeness, ignored it. Regardless, Americans are stupid!
I am ashamed to say that I used the old line about the castle being built too close to Heathrow Airport and they all nodded sagely and agreed it had been a mistake.
Not losing a beat, Mr Webb then makes the standard statement that Americans don't live in the real world:
America is strait-laced and earnest, and is getting more so with every passing day.See America can't deal with war. Of course the fact that some stations didn't want to air the show had nothing to do with the fines companies feared because of the little Janet Jackson episode at last years Superbowl. Of course not. And Mr Webb failed to mention that no one said the show couldn't be aired. Some people made the valid point that the show wasn't appropriate for primetime. Oh the horrors!
A recent example which caught my eye, I thought at first it was a joke, that several television stations refused to allow the screening of Steven Spielberg's film Saving Private Ryan.
Saving Private Ryan, starring Tom Hanks, is not pornographic, nor is it grotesquely violent. It is a war film with some shooting and some swearing.
Although it would be shown on any television station anywhere in Europe, with no comment and no censorship, the swearing is too much for America.
At least they say it is the swearing, but I wonder if there is a more profound difficulty here.
My memory of the film is that it is occasionally grittily realistic. In the battle scenes, soldiers are scared and their deaths are not always terribly glorious.
It is in other words true to life, and that is another area where Europe and America increasingly diverge.
America is fast becoming a nation of faith not fact. A nation where the unpleasant aspects of human existence are simply airbrushed away.
As Mr Webb believes that only Europeans understand the horror of real suffering. I wonder what the Iraqi's who died under Saddam's regime would think of that assertion? Maybe someone should ask the black Africans of Sudan's Darfur region? I wonder what the 6 million Jews you killed would think given that so many of you think Israel is the world's greatest threat to world peace. Yep. Europe has a wonderful grasp of reality.
We then proceed to the implication that Americans aren't practical and are overly religious:
Americans want to believe in miracles, their heads are in the clouds.Notice how Europeans have such politically correct concerns. Europeans care about poverty? Then why are Europe's immigrants so much worse of than those in America? If Europe cares about ending poverty then why does it have the highest agricultural tariffs in the developed world?
While Europeans fret about what they regard as real life, about poverty and social justice and about combating AIDS, Americans find it easier to rally round a vision, however otherworldly it might be.
Millions of Americans, 17% according to a recent survey, seriously believe that the end of the world is coming in their lifetimes and that they will be sucked up through the clouds to heaven.
Of course, we all know how much more religious Americans are, but the crucial point, it seems to me, is that the kind of religious beliefs on the march in America tend to be those stressed in the book of revelation rather than the sermon on the mount.
And Europe cares about social justice? I see... so when government officials in Germany tell Jews not to look 'too Jewish' in order protect their safety the officials are really concerned about social justice? Combatting AIDs eh? And what has Europe done to combat AIDs? Commit $15 billion to combat it? Last I heard Europeans have done nothing to combat AIDs other than host some swanky conferences to talk about it.
I was afraid for a minute that Mr Webb had forgotten the most important part of an anti-American piece. But wouldn't you know, he comes through in a pinch:
At the end of my skiing holiday, I drove my family home in a hired car larger than most tanks and as fuel efficient as the Queen Mary.Kyoto! Damn Americans are killing mother earth! The first point I'ld like to make here is if he wasn't fond of driving a vehicle 'larger than most tanks' then why the hell on earth didn't he ask for a compact? I know the point here is to make Americans look stupid but has this twit never rented a car before? Now perhaps I'm the idiot here but I've rented cars 20-30 times and not once did they not ask me what size of car I wanted. Never.
On the journey to Denver airport, dozens of similar vehicles passed us.
At the very moment that the Kyoto treaty was coming into force, to the sound of great European fanfares, America, to paraphrase its greatest poet, opted to take the road less travelled and did not regret it.
So either Mr Webb is a hypocrite for making the conscience choice to drive a large vehicle or he is the stupid one. Either way he loses.
My next point is that I've spent enough time in the United States to realize that Canadians, on average, have just as much of a taste for large vehicles. Take a cruise around Toronto or Ottawa and it will become pretty obvious. Does that allow Canada to qualify for the 'evil countries that deserve to be scorned' competition?
And I'ld like to finish by insulting anyone excited about the Kyoto treaty (least of all Mr Webb) but I'ld rather stab myself to death with a dull spoon. Is Mr Webb aware of what a colossal waste of effort and resources the Kyoto treaty is? Does he care to know that Canada has little to no intention of meeting it's obligations? Kyoto is the greatest scam in human history. Begone!
I know Mr Webb is writing off of a template but for sake of journalistic integrity could he at least mix it up a bit. Change the order of things. Something!
If the BBC is interested I'ld be happy to write a computer program that will write Mr Webb's material at half of his yearly salary. I could have it put together within a week.
The sad thing is that I'm not kidding.
Saturday, February 19, 2005
Come tomorrow the people of Spain will have been the first to say 'yae' or 'nae' on the European constitution and whether a European superstate should be created. The safe money is that Spain will confidently say 'yae' to the proposition because of the enormous monetary benefit they have enjoyed since they joined the club in 1986.
The results in many other countries is uncertain but the safe money would also say that over the next year at least one European nation will say 'nae' to the proposal. All I can say to that prospect is thanks the heavens!
The European constitution is 511 pages long. The constitution! Constitutions are supposed to contain the basic building blocks of a society: the obligations of and the restrictions on the various levels of government. A 511 page constitution is a bureacrats wet dream. It will probably also turn out to be a citizens nightmare.
Regardless of the details, the future of Europe will be interesting with or without the passing of the constitution. Declining birth rates, economic malaise, and unresolved racial issues, all indicate that the future of Europe will probably be very messy. And lets be serious, what modern attempt at creating a European superstate hasn't ended in absolute failure and utter destruction? None that I can think of.
So will Europe be a toothless tiger or a global menace? Notice how I left out any possibility of a responsible member of the international community? It wasn't by accident.
Friday, February 18, 2005
Martin Peretz tells us that liberalism is nearing its end:
Peter Beinart has argued, also in these pages ("A Fighting Faith," December 13, 2004), the case for a vast national and international mobilization against Islamic fanaticism and Arab terrorism. It is typologically the same people who wanted the United States to let communism triumph--in postwar Italy and Greece, in mid-cold war France and late-cold war Portugal--who object to U.S. efforts right now in the Middle East. You hear the schadenfreude in their voices--you read it in their words--at our troubles in Iraq. For months, liberals have been peddling one disaster scenario after another, one contradictory fact somehow reinforcing another, hoping now against hope that their gloomy visions will come true.The New Republic is in my opinion one of the last bastions of traditional liberal thought. Sure their content drifts around a bit but for the most part their opinions are well thought out and logical.
I happen to believe that they won't. This will not curb the liberal complaint. That complaint is not a matter of circumstance. It is a permanent affliction of the liberal mind. It is not a symptom; it is a condition. And it is a condition related to the desperate hopes liberals have vested in the United Nations. That is their lodestone. But the lodestone does not perform. It is not a magnet for the good. It performs the magic of the wicked. It is corrupt, it is pompous, it is shackled to tyrants and cynics. It does not recognize a genocide when the genocide is seen and understood by all. Liberalism now needs to be liberated from many of its own illusions and delusions. Let's hope we still have the strength.
Between Peretz and Beinart it seems that even liberals are starting to see that their philosophy has run its course. A philosophy doesn't lose it's relevance overnight. It takes years for a way of thinking to wear itself out. One could also claim that the original liberal objectives have for the most part been accomplished and that liberalism has gradually lost its relevance.
Regardless, the demise of liberalism has coinsided with the presidency of G.W. Bush which in many ways explains the appearance of a sudden liberal collapse. The acceptance of conservative positions, at least in the United States, in many ways follows Arthur Scholpenhauer's 'three phases of the truth'.
Before September 11, liberals ridiculed G.W. Bush (and by association his policies), implying that he was inept and dim-witted (the ridicule stage). After September 11, the extreme liberal left in the United States became unhinged in its condemnation of American actions and motives (violent opposition stage). And finally, we have Peretz and Beinart accepting the fact that conservatism is the accepted truth in American politics (self-evident stage).
So what does this mean for Canadian politics? Personally I have no idea. I do believe that liberal thought in Canada is just as hollow and empty as in the United States, but I'm not sure if that will lead to conservative positions being dominant here. The first reason I have my doubts is that many Canadians have an instinctive reflex to position themselves against American opinion. The second reason is that perhaps Canada has gone too far down the path to socialism. Canada might simply have too many people whose livelihoods depend on the good graces of government.
If only I had a crystal ball...
crossposted to The Shotgun
Since I'm in a lazy mood today I figure I should throw some links around. Here goes:
Bruce at Autonomous Source discusses the proposed national daycare program:
Here's Ken Dryden:The Monger is still as pleasant as ever:[W]e know how important the early years are to our learning life. We want and need our kids to do better. And we know how.Well, sorry Ken. I don't want you looking after my kids and filling their heads with mush. It scares me more than you can imagine, and I hope it scares a lot of other parents too. It may seem hard to believe, but all the reams of reports and studies and procedure manuals you will produce will never contain the secrets to raising children. It can never be done better by the government.
I could read this column by David Suzuki, which contains praise for Cuban organic agriculture powered by "human muscles", and hails the wonders of Soviet science (I swear I'm not kidding)...Joel Fleming tells us about a protest at his university:
or I could stick my tongue in a blender.
These nitwits had a table set up the other day. As I was passing by, one of them jumped in my path, and informed me that "the government" had announced a hike in tuition fees, and asked me to "stand up for my rights" by signing a petition in protest. Being the smart-ass that I am, I pointed out that "the government" had done no such thing, and asked where exactly it was written that I had a right to have other people pay for my education. This confused my interlocuter, so she babbled a slogan at me: "Education shouldn't be a debt sentence" and moved on to more gullible targets.Christopher of insert witty title here may be suffering from road rage:
Here's what it boils down to: if you want to pretend that you're a car, then you should have to make the "vroom-vroom" noise as you pedal your three thousand dollar hemmoroid machine through traffic. But until then, a little more common sense and some humility would go a long way towards ensuring that you don't end up as my new hood ornament.Good stuff.
Have you ever listened to the news and determined that you'ld be better off if you just hung yourself by your eyelids until you blinked? Well I had one of those moments yesterday morning.
Our wonderful Premier, Dalton McGuinty, deserves to be run over by a Mack truck. Twice.
Today the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario announced that they would be doing a round of layoffs because of budget shortfalls. Dalton, wasn't that health levy you shoved down our throats supposed to prevent things like this?
I can't imagine a greasier person that Dalton McGuinty. I understand that politicians aren't going to keep all of their promises and I can accept that. But McGuinty outright lied about not raising taxes simply because he knew he'ld never get elected otherwise. There is nothing I hate more in a politician than someone who believes in nothing but getting elected. I would rather be governed by a principled premiere who I disagreed with than one who's beliefs blew in the wind.
All I can say is that I hope Dalton enjoys his one term in office.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
A lot of people had big hopes for Paul Martin, he was going to be the next great Prime Minister of Canada in many people's eyes. But now most of us know it was all an illusion, he has shown no leadership skills and has turned into a blithering idiot since he has become our PM. Could it get any worse for Mr. Martin?
Yes it could, it appears our PM has turned into Robert Fisk, oh the horror! Check out what Mr. Martin has to say about the Syrian occupation of Lebanon after the murder of Rafik Hariri,
"It's clear that if the Syrians are in Lebanon, it's because peace has to be maintained and there has certainly been a failure,"Then compare Martin's statement to one made by Robert Fisk,
"The Syrian troops in Lebanon were peace-keepers, were they not, authorized by the Arab league?"Nice Paul, real nice, hundreds of thousands of Lebanese are marching in the streets chanting anti-Syria slogans, and many world leaders are condemning Syria for the occupation, and this is the best you can do! Its a sad day.
corssposted to The Shotgun
there'll be no NHL hockey for this year. I can't say I'm terribly surprised since as far as I'm concerned this was pretty much to be expected based on the last agreement between the owners and the players.
Do I feel sorry for any of them. Nope.
Let me put it this way... last year I went and saw two of the Senators regular season games. One against the Leafs and the other against the Bruins. And you know what? I was bored. Near bored to tears. If you add up the 4-5 goals per game, the 3-4 decent hits, and the 6-7 missed opportunities, in the average regular season game, there isn't that much worth cheering. 5 + 4 + 7 = 16. If you figure the wife and I spent probably $160 for the night that works out to about $10 per 5 second moment of excitement.
Was that money well spent. I don't bloody well think so.
Now I'll admit playoff games are another matter. I still find those games exciting but I'm simply to cheap to cough up the coin for the tickets.
So where does this leave me? Well I'll watch games on TV but you'll not catch me at the Corel Center anytime soon.
Now if you want to watch exciting hockey check out the 67's or any of the junior teams. The $10-$15 is money well spent. The guys hustle and play hard and in the end that's all I'm asking for.
It seems that Oregon and California are testing the idea of taxing drivers based on how much they drive. It appears that various levels of government are concerned that fuel efficient cars will eat into tax revenues. Ah, the law of unintended consequences.
In principle I'm not opposed to the idea. Roads must be maintained as as far as I'm concerned those who use the resource should pay for it. Same goes for health care and most other government programs.
My concern is that this will be one more tool in the governments arsenal that will be used to modify and control people's behaviour. First off, they intend to monitor a vehicle using a built in GPS system. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Not good. Not good at all.
On top of that, the Oregon and California programs are considering applying different taxes based on when and where you drive. This is intended to help reduce traffic during peak hours. Pleasant isn't it? Your boss insists that you be at work for 8 o'clock and you get stuck with a higher tax bill.
Anybody out there willing to place a bet on whether or not states or provinces that implement such a program will reduce their gas taxes to compensate?
The average guy or gal just can't win.
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
There is a good piece at OpinionJournal about the deteriorating relationship between Turkey and the United States. Robert L. Pollock observes:
And what a collapse it has been. On a brief visit to Ankara earlier this month with Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith, I found a poisonous atmosphere--one in which just about every politician and media outlet (secular and religious) preaches an extreme combination of America- and Jew-hatred that (like the Turkish artists) voluntarily goes far further than anything found in most of the Arab world's state-controlled press. If I hesitate to call it Nazi-like, that's only because Goebbels would probably have rejected much of it as too crude.Sounds somewhat European doesn't it?
Related to this, I used to read Zaman, a Turkish online daily, nearly every day. But several months ago I noticed that the tone of it's articles was becoming harsher and a bit more extreme.
Why I care about Turkey so much I'll never know. For some unexplainable reason I've always admired the country and it's people. Perhaps I admired Turkey because it tended to use common sense when their European and Arab neighbours perfered pleasant conversation or delusional antics. Who knows?
The times certainly are changing. Not always for the better I guess.
In writing up it's gay marriage legislation the government has covered all the angles:
It also prevents same-sex couples who are closely related from marrying, as federal legislation already does for opposite-sex couples.Angry in the Great White North says what I wish really didn't need saying:
Why? Is the worry that the children born of that union will be idiots? Will it be OK for gay male third cousins to marry, but not gay male first cousins? Um, who are the idiots here?Indeed.
One day someone is going to challenge this on the basis that it makes no biological sense. A pair of spinster sisters living together in their old age looking to get some benefits that come from marriage, such as the automatic ability to act with power of attorney in the case of illness, or automatic property rights. They will argue that they have a committed emotional relationship, cohabitate, and take care of each other's needs. Why then can they not enjoy the same benefits as other couples in the same situation? Why is it that they are being discriminated against simply because they are related? There is no basis for the discrimination. There are no potential children who might have genetic defects.
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
the new canadiancomment!
I was gonna wait for Bob to give final input on the layout but since he doesn't bother to read my email anymore I'm putting it up anyways. Take that Bob!
Anyways, the basic changes include:
1) The layout has less whitespace which should make it easier to read things. Each post is enclosed in a grey box which should add some definition.
2) Each post generates it's own individual page. Very nice.
3) Comments will now be entered via Blogger instead of Haloscan. Blogger made a lot of changes to their commenting system which now makes it tolerable. The comments are included with the individual page as well which is nice.
4) The main post column and the sidebar doesn't mess up the page anymore.
Things that haven't been changed:
1) I considered changing the font since most sites use a font like Verdana or Georgia but I personally like the one we are using now.
2) The trackbacks are still handled by Haloscan basically because Blogger doesn't support trackbacks yet.
The major problem I introduced by the changes is that by moving the commenting system to Blogger I've caused all the old comments to be lost. I'm sorry for the inconvience but hey, that's the way it goes. If I get the time I'll make an effort to move the most recent comments to Blogger. Since you were nice enough to put up your thoughts the least I can do is try to keep the discussion going.
So let me know what you think. And be harsh if you must.
Pierre Pettigrew is looking for ways that Canada can assist or play a role in helping Israel and the Palestinians reach a peace deal that both sides can live with, which in time would bring peace and stability to the Middle East. Pettigrew's mission is noble and should be supported by all Canadians, so I'm here to suggest a solution to winning the peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
In my opinion all it would take to solve the decades old dispute, is to get Jean Chretien and his stable of Liberal ad gurus together that gave us the federal sponsorship program and get them to apply their vast knowledge of bringing estranged peoples together to this problem. After all, Jean and the gang did save the country from breaking apart with just 250 millions dollars. Which is truly amazing, and to think people are mad at him for it, imagine what he could do if he had 500 million!
They could set up a similar program to what he used in Canada and apply those same principals towards bridging the gap between the Palestinians and Israel. How much harder could it be than what he did in Canada? Sure the Israelis and Palestinians have been fighting for years, but Jean has already smoothed relations between the foes of one age old feud and saved a country, why not another?
So how's that for a plan, take the sponsorship program, along with Chretien's genius, and adapt it to work for the Palestinians and Israelis, instead of Quebecers and the rest of Canada. I would have to say it would be foolproof, how could Chretien not succeed, except for a little waste, but in the end it would all be worth it. And I remind you, he did save Canada.
Well tomorrow is the day that the great people of Canada make the ultimate sacrifice for the future of the planet:
The international agreement on global warming will gain legal force on Wednesday but it is generally believed that Canada has no immediate hope of meeting its targets for greenhouse gas emissions.We don't have any immediate hope? Please.
Here is what I'll do. I'll make a $50 dollar bet with anyone who thinks Canada's gas emissions will ever be below our 1992 levels for any year in the next 20 years. That is basically what our Kyoto commitment is. Of course 'global calamity' scenarios outside of global warming don't apply. Nuclear war. Plague. The usual caviats.
Maximum of ten bets. Payable on February 15, 2005. Bad karma will haunt those people who place a bet in bad faith.
Monday, February 14, 2005
Mark Steyn has again outdone himself with this classic about the United Nations. Some of the juicy tidbits:
And, of course, corrupt organisations rarely stop at just one kind. If you don't want to bulk up your pension by skimming the Oil-for-Food programme, don't worry, whatever your bag, the UN can find somewhere that suits - in West Africa, it's Sex-for-Food, with aid workers demanding sexual services from locals as young as four; in Cambodia, it's drug dealing; in Kenya, it's the refugee extortion racket; in the Balkans, sex slaves.You know after reading Mark Steyn's work for a couple of years now I still haven't disagreed with anything he's put to paper. That's kind of amazing when you think about the amount of material he's written.
But you get the general picture: on a UN peace mission, everyone gets his piece. Didier Bourguet, a UN staffer in Congo and the Central African Republic, enjoyed the pleasures of 12-year-old girls, and as a result is now on trial in France. His lawyer has said he was part of a UN paedophile network that transcends national boundaries.
Now how about this? The Third Infantry Division are raping nine-year olds in Ramadi. Ready, set, go! That thundering sound outside your window isn't the new IKEA sale, but the great herd of BBC/CNN/Independent/Guardian/New York Times/Le Monde/Sydney Morning Herald/Irish Times/Cork Examiner reporters stampeding to the Sunni Triangle. Whoa, hold up, lads, it's only hypothetical.
The child sex racket is only the most extreme example of what's wrong with the UN approach to the world. Developed peoples value resilience: when disaster strikes, you bounce back. A hurricane flattens Florida, you patch things up and reopen. As the New Colonial Class, the UN doesn't look at it like that: when disaster strikes, it just proves you and your countrymen are children who need to be taken under the transnational wing.
The folks that have been under the UN wing the longest - indeed, the only ones with their own permanent UN agency and semi-centenarian "refugee camps" - are the most comprehensively wrecked people on the face of the earth: the Palestinians. UN territories like Kosovo are the global equivalent of inner-city council estates with the blue helmets as local enforcers for the absentee slum landlord. By contrast, a couple of years after imperialist warmonger Bush showed up, Afghanistan and Iraq have elections, presidents and prime ministers.
And once again I'm waiting to see the CBC reports on many of the problems Steyn has mentioned. I'm going to start holding my breath...
I've tried to explain a few different times how Saudi Wahhabism has had a negative effect on the rest of the world but have never explained it quite as good as Bernard Lewis.
"Imagine if the Ku Klux Klan or Aryan Nation obtained total control of Texas and had at its disposal all the oil revenues, and used this money to establish a network of well-endowed schools and colleges all over Christendom peddling their particular brand of Christianity. This was what the Saudis have done with Wahhabism. The oil money has enabled them to spread this fanatical, destructive form of Islam all over the Muslim world and among Muslims in the West. Without oil and the creation of the Saudi Kingdom, Wahhabism would have remained a lunatic fringe."Put in those terms it is much easier for North Americans to realize the full extent of the hate and fear that Wahhabism has caused among its followers. Just imagine the hatred that would have been caused if the Klan had the same opportunities that the radical clerics of Wahhabism have had. Then you would have some idea of the volume of poison that had been spread by the Saudi regime, and its not pretty.
Sunday, February 13, 2005
The two groups that support or are against the invasion of Iraq, like to argue back and forth between one another as to who's right about the situation, but in my opinion one side of the debate is never going to convince the other side that they are right and that the other side is wrong until the whole thing plays out sometime down the road from now. Its either going to take Iraq being a total failure or a budding democracy to convince the other side whether it was wrong or not.
The moral compass of the two sides in the debate, are just set differently than the other, and once ones moral compass makes a decision for you, its very difficult to change it. A person's core beliefs is the very foundation of their being and are usually set in stone. Making it very difficult for the two sides to agree on anything.
One group thinks that its immoral to invade a country without a very good reason to do so or are against war for any reason at all, therefor are against the invasion of Iraq. The other group tends to think that its immoral to stand aside and do nothing while a tyrant abuses and controls his population by using fear and/or force to do so.
Its just a person's make up that decides whether or not they support regime change in Iraq or not, its not because they are stupid or a moron, although there are a few on both sides of the argument, its because they truly believe they are right.
But somewhere down the road we'll all know who was right and who was wrong, but until then, both sides should keep on making their cases, this will provide the side of the argument that was right with plenty of ammunition to burn them with when this is all over. The only two things I hope for is that Iraqis will benefit from America's decision, and Gywnne Dyer is going to be wrong, as usual.
I get a kick out of headlines mostly because they rarely reflect the content of an article.
Case in point: Europeans suffering more hours on the job.
Considering that the author is writing for a Canadian audience you would expect to find out that the average European is working 45-50 hours a week and that they are beginning to have nervous breakdowns because of it. Well you'd be wrong. Very wrong. Welcome to European 'suffering':
Five years ago, France joined Europe's largest nations in a radical experiment: to try to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and improve the quality of life by having existing employees work shorter hours.Now I don't want to jump to conclusions but if Doug Saunders is correct in stating that Europeans are 'suffering' through 35 hours of work a week then the only natural conclusion is that Europeans are the world's biggest bunch of pansies. But considering they started WWI, WWII, and numerous other calamities that probably isn't the case.
This week, that bold project began to derail: France's legislature voted to crack open the 35-hour workweek and allow people in the private sector to work as many as 48 hours a week.
Anyways, this supposed 'news' article then proceeds to waste countless paragraphs telling us how the 35 hour work week hasn't affected European (French in this case) standards of living. Really...
The author quotes various numbers stating that European productivity is just as high as in North America. That's fine, I have no reason to doubt him. But still, how can working less not affect your standard of living?
Pretend for a moment that I'm a farmer and that this year I worked 100 acres. I then figure that I'm working too much and decide that next year I'm only going to work 50. You tell me: Should I expect too receive as many goods in trade for my 50 acres of produce as I received this year from my 100 acres?
Econ 101 jackass. Come on Saunders, read a textbook on your topic before flinging your crap everywhere!
And I love this quote near the end:
But she is quick to say that France is never going to adopt the largely unregulated working conditions of North America.Largely unregulated? That's rich John. Very rich.
Sorry for the lack of posting the last couple of days but I've been tinkering with our template and I'm having a hell of a time getting it to work right. Since I can only spare some much time per day on canadiancomment any time spent on the template means less time to blog.
Thursday, February 10, 2005
If for some reason you want to make yourself sick, because maybe you've eaten too much supper and figure throwing up is easier than exercise, then read this quote from Canada's Prime Minister Paul Martin, talking about Jean Chretien's appearance at the sponsorship inquiry.
"What he did yesterday was a tremendous service not only to Canada but to the Liberal party."Did that work, because reading that quote nearly made me sick. Anyway, I thought Stephen Harper's quote on Chretien's appearance was a lot closer to the truth, than Martin's brief ass kissing session.
"He stonewalled. He showed no remorse. He took no responsibility. He gave flippant answers and of course he had the support of everyone in the Liberal party while he did it, cheering him on."I know Paul Martin likes to say that Canadian and Liberal party values are the same , but I hope that's not the case, otherwise we would all be scumbags, and I know for a fact that's not true. Oh well, does anybody else get the feeling that the Liberals have been in power too long?
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Stephen Taylor shows us where all that money is going.
As far as I'm concerned this is worthy of front page coverage. Hello CBC? Globe? Post? Hello?
Good work Stephen.
I was reading this over at Commentary Magazine and it got me to thinking about the education statistics that politicians and pundits love to throw around. The bit that caught my attention was:
Europe already leads the United States in several dimensions critical to growth. It has a larger aggregate economy and far larger exports ($1,430 billion as against $986 billion), and, critically, its citizens enjoy much higher levels of educational skills. Thus, in a recent international study of mathematical achievement, Hong Kong ranked first, Finland second, the Netherlands fourth, Japan sixth, Canada seventh, Belgium eighth, France sixteenth, Germany nineteenth, Poland twenty-fourth—and the United States twenty-eighth. Mathematics is, of course, the key to future scientific and technical excellence, and in this area the Europeans are far ahead of us.Now I'm not particularly sure what the author means by 'mathematical achievement' but I started to wonder if his implication that high scores in math exams is 'the key to future scientific and technical excellence' is correct.
As an engineer I understand the importance of mathematics in our everyday lives but is it the 'key to future scientific and technical excellence'? The first point I would like clarified here is what does 'mathematical achievement' mean? Is this based on high-school students? University? Does it refer to a random sample of the population?
The question is relevant in the sense that if the results are based on high-school students then how does that affect 'future scientific and technical excellence'? Getting good results is something to be proud of (and is a decent indicator of future prospects) but lets see a high-school student do leading edge research. For the most part it isn't going to happen.
As well what kind of consideration is give to the rule of law, the openness of the economy, etc... and their impact on 'future scientific and technical excellence'? How much does a country's tolerance for new ideas affect it's future prospects? As an example I used to work with a guy from Iran who studied mathematics. He was brilliant, and yet all his knowledge and skills were wasted in Iran. In Canada his skills have been put to good use and our country has benefited greatly from his decision to come here.
Anyways, my point is that many people, media and politicians in particular, are quick to predict gloom and doom based on the results of a few simple international test scores. Like most things in life it is the big picture that counts.
Without the environment to put these skills to good use the statistics are basically useless.
crossposted to The Shotgun
Condi Rice has given the mullahs fair warning:
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Wednesday that Iran must live up to its international obligations to halt its nuclear program or "the next steps are in the offing."I bet the mullahs just love getting threatened by a woman.
"And I think everybody understands what the 'next steps' mean," Rice told reporters after a meeting with NATO foreign ministers and European Union officials.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Is Jean Chretien so out of touch with the people of Canada that he thinks his crappy little trying to save the country excuse is going to save his already tarnished legacy?
The majority of Canadians are not pissed off because you thought you were saving the country from breaking up Jean, they're pissed off because your government, which you are ultimately responsible for, decided to create a program that was lining the pockets of your Liberal buddies throughout Quebec to the tune of a hundred million dollars.
That's why Canadians are mad Jean, because a lot of them, for some unknown reason to me, trusted your dumb ass and this is how you repaid them for that trust, by wasting their hard earned money on your stinking golf buddies. And, then to top it all off you act like a smug prick about the whole situation. But that's alright Jean, keep throwing gas on the flames, it will make it all that much better in the end.
I find it hard to believe that people who live and earn a living in a free country such as ours, where their rights and freedoms are protected by law, question whether bringing democracy and freedom to other countries is worth while. Some have even gone as far to suggest that some cultures are not suited to democracy.
How soon we forget what history has taught us, here Natan Sharansky reminds us.
"The idea that certain peoples are incapable of democratic self-rule or have no desire for it has a long pedigree in Western diplomatic thinking. So too does the notion that the spread of democracy is not always in the democratic world's interest. Still, for the most of the Cold War few people bothered to re-examine these old prejudices because almost no one believed that a democratic revolution in the USSR was possible. Efforts by the West to 'impose' its values on the Soviets were considered completely unrealistic. The Soviets may not have been the ideal partner, but they were seen as strong and going nowhere. Confrontation, it was believed, would only make things worse for America, the Soviets, for everybody. Better to work out a compromise that would bring order and stability toward affairs than to engage in a reckless brinkmanship that had no chance of success. Put simply, most people believe there was little point in fighting a war that could not be won."In my opinion, dictatorships are both directly and indirectly responsible for most of the world's insecurity. All dictators must, and do lead their countries by fear and repression, and when that alone doesn't control their populations, they create external enemies to unite their people against a common foe. This leads their poor and frustrated populations to focus their attention on external problems, instead of focusing on the real problem, the dictator himself.
This is how many of the world's dictators fuel most of the world's hatred, by exposing their populations to state run propaganda and creating enemies for their people to hate. Compromising with these dictators for the sake of short term stability, only prolongs the length of time these dictators will stay in power, giving them more time to mislead and enrage their people.
Saudi Arabia is just one example of how Western governments settled for stability and avoided confrontation with a dictatorship that later came back to haunt them. For years the Saudi royal family has kept themselves in power by promoting hate, though Wahhabism, to unite their population against non-Muslims, and Muslims who don't follow the radical Wahhabi sect of Islam; Thus creating a world wide phenomenon of hatred and terrorism, with many followers now spread across many of the world's countries.
With hindsight, should the Saudi problem have been left to boil over and cause the long term pain it has, and will continue to do so long into the future? Or could have the problem be nipped in the bud a couple of decades ago, by promoting democracy through economic linkage and/or by direct confrontation? Would promoting democracy have lead to a better life for the Saudi people and spared them the misguided teachings of the Saudi royal family's clerics?
I know I'm singling the Saudi dictatorship out, but the same thing could be said of most of the world's dictatorships. Iran, North Korea, the PA, Sudan, and the former Yugoslavia all have promoted hatred throughout their populations to stay in power and control their people with the sole reason being, self preservation. I personally think its sad that Western governments deal with and prop up dictatorships in hope of short term stability, over real solutions to growing problems, I think its time we stopped passing the buck onto the next generation.
K.J. Lopez at The Corner points out this piece of insanity:
Art, design and politics meet in Joanna Rytel's jewellery collection "Happy abortion-children". Her earrings, brooches, necklaces and rings formed as aborted foetuses, takes a stand for abortion. The idea can be said to be a continuation of her project "Abortkyrkogard.se" on the internet. There many have told of the guilt they have felt after having an abortion. "I wondered about why this was and I believe that it is society that induces the guilt, particularly for girls. I want to do something about it."What the hell is in the drinking water over there in Sweden? Sweet suffering!
Joanna Rytel has herself had an abortion, but felt no guilt. "Despite that it is a little sad to have an abortion. But one does it for the child's sake. It would not have been good to have a child half-heartedly. They have it much better in heaven than if they hade been born. I thought that it would be good to make jewellery, because then people can carry their happy abortion-children with them," she says.
She had an abortion for 'the child's sake'? Please tell me this women is on lots and lots of medication. According to Joanna, the children have it much 'better in heaven'? What kind of freaking church does this woman go to? And 'happy abortion-children'?
I swear that when Europe is gone (and I have little doubt that in a 100 years it will be) I'm not likely to shed many tears.
Did you ever notice the number of articles in European papers about American officials wanting 'improved relations' with their European counterparts?
Today alone we have this, this, and this. Today they all involve Condi Rice but it seems every other day European media have another example of an American offical wanting 'closer ties'. The articles I link to here aren't negative in any way but I noticed this pattern quite a while ago. Everytime Colin Powell, G.W. Bush, or anyone else from the administration showed up on European soil, the European media took it as an opportunity to... well I'm not quite sure what.
It could be any number of things.
Is the European media trying to create the impression that the Americans are wrong and 'even they know it'. Why else would Americans endlessly have to come begging for European approval?
Or maybe it is a means of self gratification. Since most European countries (I won't name names...) don't have much to offer in terms of foreign influence maybe this is how the European media says 'see we are still important'. Even those nasty Americans care what we think.
Ah heck, maybe I'm just reading to much into this.
John was kind enough to email me links to this and this that try to explain the bizarre methods used to fund our national broadcaster. According to these sources (The Globe and Mail is quoted in the links) the CBC will get about $928 million which doesn't include funding from a whole host of other sources.
It's sad really. When was the last time you saw a Canadian program that didn't include 30 seconds worth of credits at the end showing how generous our govenment is? Two examples I can give are Corner Gas (which airs on CTV) and the Montreal Comedy Festival. Both of these could easily stand on their own and yet they both receive wads of my tax dollars. Sad. Sad. Sad.
If that stuff doesn't make your head spin... nothing will.
crossposted to The Shotgun
Monday, February 07, 2005
James Taranto of Best of the Web Today has discussed the Ward Churchill story quite a bit lately.
Taranto has stated several times that most universities that have canceled plans for Churchill to speak are coping out by claiming 'safety and security' are the reasons for their actions. I tend to agree with Taranto but I wonder if the universities are just covering their asses.
Remember, the people who run these universities aren't stupid. Well perhaps they are, but let's pretend that they're not... If alumni funding and support were at jeopardy I suspect that the average university president wouldn't hesitate to cancel a speaker. Of course if they did it for that reason they would certainly be inviting a lawsuit from Churchill himself or one of his supportors.
After all, money talks.
The now famous Ward Churchill is at it again, in an interview with Satya magazine, Churchill was asked about the effectiveness of protests against U.S. policies and the Iraq war, and this is how he responded. Full story here
"One of the things I've suggested is that it may be that more 9/11s are necessary."So that's how the cultural elite, such as Churchill, deal with things that they don't agree with. If dumb Americans can't see the world through Churchill's eyes, he figures they should be killed by the thousand until they learn their lesson. Classy, Ward, real classy.
Isn't what Ward is suggesting a little like how Stalin and the mass murdering dictators of the world ruled over their populations? If the masses don't agree with what you're trying to sell them, expose them to violence until they fall in line and follow the party line. That is what Churchill is saying, isn't he?
[ Via Neale News ]
Now that a consortium including CTV have won the rights to the 2010 Winter Games and the 2012 Summer Olympics I'm curious to know if I'll be getting a small tax cut for the money CBC won't be spending.
The thought of looking into how our government funds its various pet projects strikes the fear of God into me, but I'm curious to know how funding for the CBC is determined. Is the CBC given a budget every year that they must stick to or does it vary year-to-year depending on what television rights they win? Either way, according to my rough estimates I figure I should get at least $10 back?
On the other hand, now that the CBC has plenty of spare cash lying around perhaps we'll be blessed with more of that high-quality 'Canadian content' they are so well known for. Duck! Don't let the sarcasm hit you...
Anyways, the thing that makes me happiest about all this is that I won't be bombarded with 18 ads every hour telling me how funny Rick Mercer is. It's not that I don't find Rick Mercer funny but I've often wondered if anyone at the CBC ever heard of the concept of 'over exposure'?
crossposted to The Shotgun
Sunday, February 06, 2005
For the most part I've always believed that most liberals and lefties, if you look close enough, are quite racist. Well we had Janeane Garofalo showing us how much she valued the independence and sacrifice of 'brown' people. She obviously doesn't think much of their sacrifice.
We also got to see how the Democratic party values the accomplishments of Condi Rice. Noemie Every says it best:
For mysterious reasons best known to themselves, a small diehard clique of old-line insurgents hiding out in the depths of the U.S. Senate decided to make confirmation hearings for Condoleezza Rice the venue of a bomb-throwing session, on the basis of two cherished liberal theories: one, that the war in Iraq is an utter catastrophe; and two, that while criticism of liberal nonwhites and women is always racist and sexist in nature, nonwhites and women who are right-wing or centrist are less than "authentic," and therefore deserve what they get. Thus, Margaret Carlson in the Los Angeles Times found nothing amiss in Boxer's calling Rice a liar and a lackey, but insisted Boxer's critics were somehow attacking all women.Now I'm not saying that all lefties or liberals are racist but I do think the vast majority believe that most minorities in some way, shape, or form, are inferior. Why else do you need more government programs than you can track to 'lift them up'? Why else would they lash out at anyone who leaves the plantation?
This followed by weeks an unprecedented onslaught from liberal cartoonists and columnists, who compared Rice to a parrot, a house slave, Aunt Jemima (with one hell of a weight loss), and Prissy in Gone With the Wind. It did not help that one of Boxer's main allies was Robert A. Byrd of West Virginia, who in a prior life had been a member of the Ku Klux Klan. As a method of expanding the vote of an ever-shrinking minority party, this tactic stunned some observers, who concluded the scheme had been cooked up by Karl Rove.
"I wouldn't think having a former kleagle of the Ku Klux Klan lead a futile floor fight against the nomination of the first black woman to be secretary of state is a good way to enhance the appeal of the Democratic party to swing voters, but maybe that's just me," opined Jack Kelly. No, Jack, it's not just you. It's you and Andrew Young, a partisan Democrat and genuine civil rights leader; it's you and Dorothy Height, head of the National Council of Negro Women; you and C. DeLores Tucker, former chair of the Black Caucus of the Democratic National Committee; you and Ron Lester, a Democratic pollster quoted by the New York Post's Deborah Orin as saying, "A lot of African Americans are watching this and they're wondering why [Democrats] are going after her so hard."
It's you and Colbert King, the liberal columnist for the Washington Post, who has little use for Bush but even less for the Boxer-Byrd style. King asks us to ponder a key Boxer statement: "I personally believe--this is my personal view--that your loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell the war, overwhelmed your respect for the truth." Writes King, "It's hard to imagine a more demeaning and offensive caricature of a prospective secretary of state." What a great tactic! What a keen way to appeal to white moderates, as well as to stop the leakage to Bush of black social conservatives, which at the moment has the left in a panic.
A former kleagle of the Ku Klux Klan berating a cultured black woman, one of whose childhood friends was blown up in Birmingham: This is the image you want to create for your party? Call it strike one.
As Jason Dore writes:
Many believe that one cannot be both black and a Republican. Unfortunately, lies gradually become truth as they are continually repeated. For years, the Democratic party and a few elite black leaders have spouted the lie that the Republican party is a racist organization that seeks to discriminate against minorities.So do liberals and the left care? Nope, nope, and nope again.
These people ignore history. It was the Lincoln, the first Republican president, who ensured blacks would no longer be held in shackles. It was the Democratic party who filibustered the Civil Rights Act which could not have passed without the support of Congressional Republicans.
It is the Democrats who feature the only former member of the Ku Klux Klan in the U.S. Senate, Robert Byrd. This is the man who accused Martin Luther King of unleashing “destructive forces” upon the country. He voted against both black nominees to the Supreme Court. In 2001, he used a racial slur on national TV. Byrd then used his stature in the Senate to lead the effort against the confirmation of the first black female secretary of state, Condoleeza Rice, leading to the largest "no" vote against any secretary of state nominee since 1825.
Blacks that are willing to leave the plantation of the liberal Democratic party do so at a high cost. Conservatives such as Rice, Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas and J.C. Watts are subjected to extraordinary condemnation from the left. No insult is left unsaid. Their “blackness” and intelligence is habitually questioned. Disparaging labels such as “Uncle Tom,” “Aunt Jemima” and “Brown Sugar” are acceptable names for black conservatives.
Saturday, February 05, 2005
doubleplusgood infotainment put up this post about Janeane Garofalo comparing the Nazi salute to the ink stained fingers of Iraqi voters.
I left a comment on the post but afterwords I just lost it. Hopefully doubleplusgood infotainment doesn't mind but I've pillaged a couple of his photos to make my point.
Janeane compares this:
Now I don't want to say that she is one twisted individual but if anyone finds her comparison even remotely humourous they should be shot, spit on, and then driven over by several slow moving vehicles. That seems reasonable given their stupidity.
And I suppose Garofalo is comparing this man:
One story that is famous now in Iraq is about one brave Iraqi (A'adel Nasir) who saw a suspicious looking guy walking around a polling center in (Al- Hurriyah) district and soon the brave man realized that the suspicious guy was trying to commit a suicide attack; he ran towards him, wrestled him and knocked him down causing the bomb carried by the terrorist to explode, sacrificing his own life and saving the lives of the people standing in line at the gate of the voting center. It turned out later that the terrorist carried a Sudanese ID.To this one:
Now, the school that hosted the voting center on the 30th carries the name of A'adel Nasir, as the Iraqi minister of education announced today.
Janeane, you're worthless trash and you should be ashamed of yourself.
The Toronto Star is reporting that President Bush is expected to ask Prime Minister Martin to send Canadian troops to help with the training of Iraqi troops when they meet later this month. If Martin agrees, the force will be made up of 40 soldiers who would be part of a larger NATO force that would be preparing the new Iraqi army to stand on its own after American troops exit the country.
I think that Mr. Martin should agree to sent the 40 troops, training the Iraqi military is the right thing to do. This would be another step in the right direction for Canada, first we trained Iraqi election officials in Jordan, before last months historic election, now we must help the country defend its people against the terrorists that threaten them and the stability of the region.
I think Canada can have a positive effect on the outcome of Iraq's democracy, our military has many top notch individuals that could make a difference for the people of Iraq. This is the type of job Canada, as a second tier power, will excel at. Training Iraqi soldiers and rebuilding Iraq is in the best interests of everybody in the world, except for the remaining dictators in Iran and Syria, that is.
Anyway, with enough support, from as many nations as possible, Iraq can turn out to be a great success story, it would be a shame to let the opportunity slip away now. So its up to the Mr. Martins of the world to decide just how easy or hard the task will be.
During a crisis on the Korean peninsula the US would deploy 690000 troops to defend the south? Hmm... This would be made up of 70% of the marine corps, 50% of the air force, and 40% of the navy.
Now I'm not saying that the South Korean government is misleading it's people but these numbers don't add up. Given that the US has about 130000 (rough estimate since I'm too lazy to look it up) in Iraq with people are already complaining about a shortage of manpower just where in heck do they plan to find 690000 people to defend South Korea?
I personally find it unlikely that the US would institute a draft if a war broke out on the Korean peninsula. Maybe they would but I find it unlikely. So where does that lead us? Well either the US is feeding the South Korean government a pile of crap to help them relax or the South Korean government is the one feeding the pile of crap to it's people. I'm sure getting a good nights sleep while living next to North Korea is a lot easier knowing that the US will rain hell down on someone threatening you.
Regardless, the numbers don't make sense.
Thursday, February 03, 2005
It seems that the Liberals are getting closer to creating a national day-care program:
At least part of that surplus will be earmarked to create a trust fund in the coming budget aimed at kick-starting its $5-billion national daycare program, sources told The Globe and Mail. The Liberals made creating the program one of their prominent election promises.Well isn't that just peachy. So now both my wife and I are going to have to work so that we can afford to pay the taxes that will keep this day-care program running? Jeesh guys thanks. You've got to love a government that taxes the life out of people and forces both parents in a family to work. Of course since both parents work, the government has to increase taxes to take care of the children. Is this not a sick cycle?
The Liberals would not say exactly how much will be put aside or how the money would be distributed, only that it will likely come over a set number of years.
Ken Dryden, the federal Social Services Minister, is hoping to come to a national daycare agreement with his provincial counterparts when they meet next Friday in Vancouver.
Since the Canadian government is slowly taking control over all aspects of raising children, can we someday expect that they will get involved in the process of actually doing the 'deed'? Imagine...
You're a young fellow (ladies change as necessary), fresh out of school and looking to meet a girl to settle down with. You meet a nice girl and would like to go out on a few dates and have a good time together. Unfortunately, you find that after getting your dream job you can't afford to take her out on a date. After paying into a government sucking the life out of you, you grow destitute and simply give up.
Months later, you're browsing a Government of Canada website and you find information on a program tailored just for you! You scream in delight and after filling out the paper work and mailing in the forms you wait. And you wait. And then you wait some more. After 7 months you receive a form letter saying that your application has been accepted and that you can show up for an appointment at your local health clinic.
You show up for your 2pm appointment and you wait. And you wait some more. After reading the collected works of William Shakespeare you are called into the doctors office. He asks you to explain why you feel you should qualify for the program to which you say that you are intelligent, caring, and mature. The doctor picks and pokes and after a three hour ordeal he tells you that you qualified for the program and will receive your permission papers in about 8-9 weeks.
The shock! Finally your dreams have come true and you wait patiently for the paperwork to arrive. When the papers arrive you can't believe your luck. Not only has the government agreed to provide funds to facilitate your dating but it has also pre-screened other individuals for you to spend the new funds on.
You rush to the dating office to collect some of the cash and arrange the first date. Can you imagine the nervous energy? You clean yourself up and rush to the restaurant anticipating this new stage in your life. It has all come to this...
As you open the door to the restaurant you pause and realize that two weeks before you read a disturbing article in The Globe and Mail. The article mentioned how the government was concerned that the number of 'gay families' only made up 2% of all families in Canada. This concerned various members of Parliament who then proceeded to introduce legislation to help reverse the 'gay family' deficit.
You stare into the room and see only one other confused guy sitting there... your heart sinks... and then you realize. You've been chosen to be one of the lucky few. You collect your emotions and dry your eyes. Nothing comes without a price and you walk into the restaurant accepting your fate.
crossposted to The Shotgun
Since Peggy asked I'm posting the old links that I removed a couple of weeks ago. Here goes:
The Globe And Mail
canadaeast.com - Breaking News
The Toronto Star
Canada Free Press Newspaper
Macleans.ca | Inkless Wells
Conservative Party of Canada
The Telegraph (UK)
The Daily Star (Lebanon)
The Washington Post (US)
The Moscow Times (Russia)
The Straits Times (Singapore)
Zaman Daily (Turkey)
Jordan Times (Jordan)
The Christian Science Monitor (US)
Dar Al Hayat (UK)
International Herald Tribune (UK)
Mail & Guardian (South Africa)
Bahrain Tribune (Bahrain)
Times Of India (India)
New York Post (US)
Deutsche Welle (Germany)
Jerusalem Post (Israel)
The Star (Malaysia)
Daily Times (Pakistan)
Times Online (UK)
The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
The Weekly Standard
Best Of The Web Today
Prevent Truth Decay
The UN Is Evil
Fred On Everything
Victor Davis Hanson
The American Enterprise
Tech Central Station
Well for those of you who care, San Antonio was much warmer than Ottawa. Ha suckers! It was certainly a nice city, especially the Riverwalk area with nice restaurants and nice scenery. For anyone visiting the city I suggest you check out the margaritas at Chachos. Sweet...
Anyways it seems that the world has been busy since I left. Foremost we have the Iraqi people proving that they are willing to take their future into their own hands.
We also had G.W. giving his state of the union speech. For the most part the speech was pretty standard. I listened to it today and I liked how he mentioned the need for Egypt and Saudi Arabia to persue reforms.
We also saw how the Liberal Party plans to pass it's gay-marriage legislation. Apparently the party that believes so highly in addressing our democratic deficit doesn't want certain members of their party to vote on the gay-marriage legislation. Are they bigots? Homophobes? Ostracize them damn it!
It couldn't be that they simply disagree with the legislation is it? Sorry I must be talking crazy.
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
I thought that I came up with a good idea for a blog post today, but by the time I got home from work and checked around on the internet, I soon realized that my idea was far from original and has already been done by several blogs. What was my idea, a post reporting that G.I. Joe was captured, then beheaded in Iraq by terrorists.
Oh well, here are some related posts that you may find amusing,
Islamic Militants Threaten To Behead Vermont Teddy Bear
Elmo Captured by Insurgents
Jihadists Threaten to Behead Action Figure
How smart do you think the guys are that came up with this idea? Picture it, some poor terrorist gets up at a planning session and says that they should buy a doll that looks like the U.S. soldier and make a video pretending that's its a real soldier and demand that America release all their prisoners or the hostage will be beheaded. Then, who ever was in charge, thinks its a good idea and sets in motion a plan to carry it out. MORONS!!!
Anyway, I found all these links the easy way, by simply going over to John Hawkins' blog, Right Wing News and checking out the 'Daily News' section he kindly provides.