Saturday, April 30, 2005


Jesus was a GOP lobbyist... or so the Christians want to believe

Where is Mad Max Mel Gibson when you need him? Last Justice Sunday - Stopping the Filibuster Against People of Faith in many United States churches, Christian conservative groups organized a telecast to denounce the Democrats as "against people of faith" for blocking judicial nominees. The lead group in this event was the Family Research Council (FRC), the defenders of family, faith and freedom. Spreading the word of God by promoting intolerance basically.

Below is a sample of letter that FRC President Tony Perkins posted on their website and sent out to millions of Americans.

Justice Sunday: Stop the Filibuster Against People of Faith

Dear Friend:

A day of decision is upon us. Whether it was the legalization of abortion, the banning of school prayer, the expulsion of the 10 Commandments from public spaces, or the starvation of Terri Schiavo, decisions by the courts have not only changed our nation's course, but even led to the taking of human lives. As the liberal, anti-Christian dogma of the left has been repudiated in almost every recent election, the courts have become the last great bastion for liberalism.

For years activist courts, aided by liberal interest groups like the ACLU, have been quietly working under the veil of the judiciary, like thieves in the night, to rob us of our Christian heritage and our religious freedoms. Federal judges have systematically grabbed power, usurping the constitutional authority that resides in the other two branches of government and, ultimately, in the American people.

We now have a President who is committed to nominate judicial candidates who are not activists, but strict constructionists -- judges who will simply interpret the Constitution as it was written. We now have a majority in the U.S. Senate that will confirm these nominees. However, there is a radical minority that has launched an unprecedented filibuster against these outstanding men and women.

Many of these nominees to the all-important appellate court level are being blocked, not because they haven't paid their taxes or because they have used drugs or because they have criminal records or for any other reason that would disqualify them from public service; rather, they are being blocked because they are people of faith and moral conviction. These are people whose only offense is to say that abortion is wrong or that marriage should be between one man and one woman.

Only 51 votes are needed to approve these nominees and most of these candidates, if not all, would receive more then 51 votes if a vote were held on the Senate floor. But a radical minority in the Senate is using the filibuster to block an up or down vote on the Senate floor. They are requiring a super majority, 60 votes, to proceed on these nominees. This liberal minority does not respect the will of the people: they want judge-made law because our elected officials will not give them the social anarchy they demand.

The Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist of Tennessee, is committed to returning Constitutional order to the Senate by requiring an up-or-down vote on these nominees. To do this, he urgently needs the help of every "values voter." Without doubt, this will be the most important vote cast in the United States Senate in this term. If this effort fails, the best we can hope for are likely to be mediocre judges who meet the approval of Ted Kennedy, Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

This is an event you won't want to miss, an historic debate we can't afford to lose!


Tony Perkins
FRC Action

Wow! The filibuster, which the FRC talks of, is a staple of American government and has been used by both parties as a check and a balance. Also, Democratic politicians are allot of things, but against faith is a little strong. This gathering is just further proof about why the separation of church and state is essential. I don't even want to touch some of the other shit in there. A nice touch name dropping the raving liberal Hillary though. I so hope she runs in 2008.

During the address, Senator Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee stepped up his threats to change Senate rules to circumvent those blockades while simultaneously calling for "more civility in political life." Dr. Frist (of the tears and sweat can cause AIDS fame and Terri Schiavo is not in a vegetation state - I can see it on the tape) is one of the many expected to throw his hat in the ring for the Republican leadership in 2008. Here is hoping.

Justification for airing the program came from the far corners of the United States, but none was better than New Jersey Pastor Bill Rooney. "This country was founded on biblical truths and religious freedom," Rooney said. "So the fact that anyone wants a separation of church and state goes against our founding principles." Shortly after watching the broadcast Rooney retreated to his cave to reminisce about the good old days of public stonings and slavery.


Welcome Back Peter!

A tip of the cap to the return of the Family Guy on Fox. I sure hope that Seth McFarlene is sticking it to them.


Further proof that anything can happen.

An alligator grabbed and ate an Orange County couple's pet dog Thursday as a family fed some ducks at a pond.

The Tredell family was outside its home in the Raintree subdivision in Hunter's Creek Thursday when its Jack Russell terrier, Gizmo, ran outside. The dog was chasing some ducks near the edge of the water when an alligator jumped out of the water and grabbed the dog.

"RJ opened the door to throw some bread out to the ducks and Gizmo ran out between his legs and went chasing after the ducks, and a couple of seconds later he was in the water and the gator came like that," dog owner Cathy Tredell said.


Foreplay in the sand

The LPGA is facing a little scandal as a former caddie is claiming to have been seduced and unwillingly fathering a child with his former boss. Gary Robinson, a former caddie for LPGA golfer Jackie Gallagher-Smith (who is married) is suing her, saying she used him as “an unwitting sperm donor.” He is suing for an unspecified sum, claiming fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress. No hearing date has been set for the suit, filed in circuit court this week in West Palm Beach.

An 11-year tour veteran, Gallagher-Smith has one career victory and career earnings of about $1.1 million. She has not played in a tour event this year.

Robinson said he has been affected professionally. He is currently out of work as a caddie and is pursuing a career as a professional golfer.“The likelihood that I will ever get another caddying job, especially in the LPGA, is very, very unlikely,” he said.

Robinson, 26, began caddying for Gallagher-Smith in February 2004, and soon thereafter began receiving advances from her, he said. Robinson said he was in an emotional state after recently ending a long-term relationship with a girlfriend, and he passed off some early advances as “innocent playful activity.”

The relationship became sexual about two months later and the two would sometimes engage in unprotected sex, he said. When rumors of the relationship began spreading around the tour, Gallagher-Smith told Robinson that he must deny they had anything but a work relationship, the suit states.

Robinson goes on to say that Gallagher-Smith told him she and her husband had been unsuccessful in conceiving a child. In July, she told Robinson she was pregnant and led him to believe he might be the father, the suit says.

Friday, April 29, 2005


Friends in high places

What exactly are the qualifications to be Ambassador to Canada? Former Governor of US border state? Nope. Former House of Representative or Senator will foreign relations or trade experience? Not quite. Apparently a pulse, a checkbook and a rolodex are the new lows in Washington.

Welcome to the world of David Wilkins, George W. Bush's pick as the new ambassador to Canada. It is a comforting to know, that like Bush, Wilkins will take the job having only been north of the border once, to visit Niagara Falls in the 1970s. You will have to excuse him since it has been awhile since he last visited so he will require a little time with a map.

Wilkins, who will get Senate approval in a few months, will take over the job after previously turning down offers from Bush to become a U.S. District Court judge and later, ambassador to Chile. In his 25 years in the state legislature, is credited with playing a prominent role in turning South Carolina into a Republican controlled state. In fact, he helped Bush turn his 2000 campaign around in the state primary following a New Hampshire upset by Senator John McCain and served as campaign chair in Bush's 2004 re-election bid.

To be fair to Wilkins, he is familiar with Canada on one trade issue - softwood lumber. Since South Carolina is a lumber-producing state he has been involved in the bitter dispute arguing the Canada is producing unfairly.

Got ready for moral high-ground lectures from Bush cronies about Canada's liberal drift.


Bustin loose - No Canada

Washington Times Columnist Austin Bay is calling Canada the specter of the world's next failed state. Bay clearly has no love lose for a nation of beer drinkers, peaceniks, Mounties and socialists - his charming words not mine.

Bay lowers the bar and brings in this gem: "If you don't know about Canada's crooked politicians, you're not alone." Earth to Bay, you live in a country where political money buys everything (big oil, big unions, big business, etc), logrolling is common place and you continue to hand pick dictators around the globe to support US interests. I think enjoying a Molson now and then is ok.

He also claims that democracy and free speech are breaking out in Beirut, but they're both taking a beating in Ontario and that the Canadian government has a press clamp on an investigation into the ruling Liberal Party's "Adscam" kickback scheme. Get your facts straight scribe. The ban was in place to protect some of the witnesses who are facing criminal charges. Plus, ask Paul Martin or his colleagues if they wanted or benefited from the ban.

Finally he concludes with his version of a New Canada without Quebec. It goes like this: Say Quebec becomes a separate European-style nation-state -- a "people" with cultural, linguistic, religious and historical identity (never mind the objections of Mohawk and Cree Indians in Quebec). Quebec has the people and resources to make a go of it, though the economic price for its egotism will be stiff.

British Columbia also has "nation-state" assets: access to the sea, strong industrial base, raw materials and an educated population. This would be attractive real estate for the US, but Bay is too dense to figure that out.

Oil-producing Alberta might join the United States and instantly find common political ground with Alaska, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma. I quite like Alberta and have lots of friends and family there. They would little in common with the backwoods states of Louisiana, Oklahoma or Texas. It could be part of Bush's push for energy independence - take over Alberta and make it the 51st.

Canada's struggling Atlantic provinces might find statehood economically attractive and extend the New England coastline. Not likely.

A rump Canada consisting of "Greater Ontario" -- with remaining provinces as appendages -- might keep the Maple Leaf flag aloft. Ont-ask-atobia - it has a lovely ring to it.

As for poor, isolated Newfoundland: Would Great Britain like to reacquire a North American colony?

What about the north? There are resources there and hmmm... people too.

As stated in a previous column, all of this could be solved if the progressive US states (and the real economic engine of the country) looked north and decided to get out of the Bushes. Maybe someday the people there will be sick of posting massive deficits to fund costly illegal wars or maybe not.


Moncton is going to get some brown sugar

Word is that Mick Jagger and the boys are going to be playing Ottawa later this summer on one of their many farewell tours. Good news for the nation's capital. What is more shocking is the rumour that they are also slated to Moncton.

Maybe this is Frank McKenna's contribution? Has he one-upped his boss?

Thursday, April 28, 2005


Let's make a deal

It isn't exactly Monty Hall and the American people, but it will do. Late Tuesday the federal NDP and the governing Liberals struck a deal to increase spending in the next two years by $4.6 B on four main priorities. The money is coming from additional revenue (surplus) projected in the next two years and not the much talked about tax cuts. In fact, the amount taken out of the tax cuts in the next two years is actually only $45 M.

The critics are railing on Jack Layton for propping up the morally corrupt Liberals. It isn’t, however, that way in this reader’s eyes. It is clear that the Liberals are desperate to retain power and do not want an early election. Also, crystallizing is the fact that the NDP wanted to see investment in people increased (even more than in the 2005 Budget). This isn’t wrong, crooked or corrupt on their part. It is simply good politics. The measures that they want targeted and the means of delivering the money – well that is another issue.

If you want to criticize Layton do it on the basis that he took his marching orders from organized labour (no I am not anti-union). Organized labour leaders (that means you Buzz) have cost the federal NDP more than they have helped. In fact, they are likely the one group that drove the stake through the Bob Rae government in Ontario –not that someone else wouldn’t have. Layton should have taken his orders from his members and their platform.

The deal between the Liberals and the NDP includes:

$1.6 billion for affordable housing construction, including aboriginal housing. It is difficult to argue with this expenditure if you have ever visited an Aboriginal reserve or walked Younge Street in Toronto. Hopefully this can be a catalyst for real Aboriginal reform in Canada since continuing to throw money at perceived problems can't go on forever. It is likely, if Martin survives, that we will see a large policy meeting in Ottawa on First Nations issues in the fall.

A $1.5-billion increase in transfers to provinces for tuition reduction and better training through EI. This is a well-intentioned proposal that is entirely directed. The federal government has no role in tuition policy and should place this money into the Canada Student Loans Program or another federal granting agency. This way the money would go to students who need fee relief and not just be a blanket. Progressives will agree that not everyone needs a tuition rebate and there are many who need every last penny. If you distribute it through the aid system it will get into the hands of the lowest income Canadians. The lack of provincial consultation on this issue means it would be impossible to ensure the transfer would find it's way into tuition rebates and not result in road improvements and tax reduction (both policies worth pursuing just not with this pot of money).

$900 million for the environment, with one more cent of the federal gas tax going to public transit. If only we had a Kyoto plan that wasn't a moving target. Environmental expenditures consistently poll high on voter's priorities. In fact, Albertan's usually rank them in the top 3. I guess that is bound to happen with low taxes and no sales tax. Also, with spring here it brings on Canada's unofficial fifth season - pothole season. Fix the damn roads.

$500 million for foreign aid designed to bring Canada in line with a promise of 0.7 per cent of GDP. Are you listening Bono? This is a good choice and will be money well spent. It fits nicely into the long-awaiting foreign policy review (a good document, a little late, but good none the less.).

$100 million for a pension protection fund for workers. This point seems to be contested by Liberals. They claim it isn't in the deal while the dippers claim it is. I am not sure whom to believe so I say flip a coin.

The Promised tax cuts for small and medium-sized businesses will remain but cuts for large corporations (no I am not anti-business and yes I realize who creates employment) will be deferred. Prime Minister Paul Martin said a day after the Liberal-NDP deal was announced that the business tax cuts would be withdrawn from the budget. Martin concluded by saying "The tax cuts will be introduced later as separate legislation provided the Liberals get the backing of the Conservatives." I wouldn't hold my breathe on that point. The Liberals and the Conservatives are fighting like the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s.

In the end we are left with more political uncertainty. One thing, however, is emerging there is a real fiscal imbalance between Ottawa and the provinces/territories. We need an equalization formula that takes into account the realities of the country. That will be a subject for another post – Readers Beware!


Rubbish - no it isn't

Ricky Gervais is coming back to television - thank god! Gervais will be on the BBC later this year with his new series about a sad-sack actor. HBO has picked up the US rights and will announce when it will air later this year.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Daisy chaining and chaining Daisy

Canadian and American jurisdictions are choosing different tactics in dealing with youth sexual activity. In most of Canada, the strategy is to try to get out ahead of the behaviour by increasing education about the risks of sexual activity - disease and pregnancy, distributing free condoms and making birth control easier to obtain. In most of the United States, the measures are targeted at eliminating condoms in schools, increase abstinence education and make it more difficult (even illegal) to obtain an abortion. Who is enjoying a better success?

Here are some quick statistics for select countries. Interestingly countries where there is sex education enjoy lower teen pregnancy rates and abortion rates.

Country abortion rates – (Rate per 1,000)

United States - 21.3

Australia - 22.2

Sweden - 18.7

Canada - 16.4

England & Wales - 15.6

Germany - 7.6

Holland - 6.5

Teen pregnancy rates - Pregnancy and Childbearing

Teenage birth rate per 1,000 births
Sweden — 7
France — 9
Canada — 20
Great Britain — 31
United States — 49

Percentage of women aged 20-24 who had a child before age 20
Sweden — 4%
France — 6%
Canada — 11%
Great Britain — 11%
United States — 22%

Sexual Activity

Percentage of women who began having “sex” before age 15

Sweden — 12%
France — 7%
Canada — 9%
Great Britain — 4%
United States — 14%

Contraceptive Use

Percentage of adolescent women who did not use any method of birth control
at first intercourse*
Sweden — 22%
France — 11%
Great Britain — 21%
United States — 25%

(*statistics for Canada not available)

Percentage of adolescent women who did not use any method of birth control
at most recent intercourse*
Sweden — 7%
France — 12%
Great Britain — 4%
United States — 20%

I think it is fair to say that Canadian policies are working better than our American counterparts. Apparently denial is not a strong policy tool.

One example of how Canadian governments are dealing with sexual active teens emerged in Quebec this week. Teenage girls in the province can now get a prescription for birth-control pills directly from a school nurse or at a community health clinic, without having to see a doctor or seek parental permission.

In contrast, United States legislators have passed a bill making it illegal for young women to cross state lines to have an abortion. In fact, abortion rights are slowly under attack in Godland. The re-election of George Bush and the strengthening of the Republican hold on government has lead to payback for Christians around the country.

The news is not all good for Canada. There are differences in the country amongst provinces for many of measures listed above. In fact, western provinces (traditionally more socially conservative) have higher teen pregnancy rates.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Men overboard - the sequel

It is starting to smell an aweful lot like 1993. The mass exodus from the Martin Cabinet has apparently added another departure - Pierre "Hair" Pettigrew. Pettigrew has long been rumoured to be off to lead the Organization of American States (based in Washington, obviously not his adopted home of Paris). Now, it appears to be true.

That collective sigh you hear is from pages in Ottawa.


Take this job and shove it

Apparently God really, really wanted Ratz to take over the Catholic church. Pope Benedict XVI recently stated that he prayed to God during the conclave not to be elected pope but that "evidently this time He didn't listen to me."

God...hmm... I don't want my own island nor to date Jennifer Aniston.

Monday, April 25, 2005


Quebec Rumour de jour

Quebec politics are never dull. The Charest government is about as popular as skunk at a garden party. Has a leader ever dropped so far, so fast in the eyes of so many? Mulroney plummeted in the polls, but he worked at it. It is unclear what the tipping point was with the Charest government - Jewish school decision, miscalculating the student strike or the deplorable state of the roads. One thing is clear, they will need a miracle to turn their ship around.

They do, however, enjoy the benefit of an extremely divided Official Opposition. The 2nd least popular provincial politician is Bernie Laundry - been there, done that and bought the shitty t-shirt. The rank and file wants this guy out faster than George Michael at public bathroom. The Parti Quebecois (PQ) senior brain trust are like vultures circling around a carcass. All of this leaves the Action démocratique du Québec (ADQ) acres of space in the political landscape.

The ADQ are, for all intents and purposes, still finding their identity. Nobody is quite sure if they are federalist or nationalist party? Conservative? Neo-liberal? Libertarian? What is known is that Mario Dumont is young, telegenic and full of energy. Do the ADQ really stand a chance in the 2007 election?

Prior to the 2003 campaign they were looking like the belle of the ball. Then, thud, 12:00 stuck and third place set in. Now, that all could change. A little birdie told me that the ADQ are prepared to bring back an old Quebec favourite to lead them - Lucien Bouchard. Have you picked yourself off the ground? I know this guy goes through parties like Angelina Jolie burns through the fellas.

Lucien Bouchard is more popular than Pepsi and a Joe Louis in Quebec. He would sweep the province in 2007 and give Quebecers what they really want - a federalist leader with a nationalist vision. Or is it a nationalist leader with a federalist vision?

Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 24, 2005


The one o'clock challenge

Rick Mercer, where are thee? United States lawmakers are moving to extend the feel of summer in their latest energy-saving initiative. The measure would place the US on daylight saving time for an extra two months a year.

U.S. Senators are expected to agree to the daylight saving time extension after House lawmakers agreed to the measure late last week. The proposal is contained in a wider energy bill - god, let's hope. The problem is that the extension of daylight savings time has bi-partisan support and the other measures do not. In fact, the legislators are divided over issues such as drilling in an Alaska wildlife refuge and raising car fuel economy.

Rep (D) Massachusetts Ed Markey tried to sum it with this gem. "We all just feel sunnier after we set our clocks ahead." It is good that public policy issues are being set after lyrics from a Flintstone hit song.

Canadians take note. If these changes go through, we will have no choice but to follow suit. Time is one area where we can't afford to be out of sync with our southern neighbors. There would be too much confusion on too many economic issues ranging from airline schedules to stock exchange hours.

I can literally hear a collective groan from the province of Saskatchewan.


For the love of the game

A tip of the cap to the Saskatoon Contacts who, for the first time in their illustrious history, are national midget hockey champions. The Contacts won the title with a convincing 4-1 victory over the host Gatineau Intrepide. The team also won the Mac's midget tournament in Calgary over Christmas.

Congratulations to Jim McIntyre's crew.


When it rains, it pours.

You think you had a tough week, try being Paul Martin. Mr. Dither's week from hell just got worse. This guy really can't catch a break. His government's long-term prognosis is not good. Now, U2 front man and international globetrotter, Bono is feeling the sting of betrayal and is calling on Canadians to storm the PM's office with protest phone calls.

In an interview with the CBC Radio's The House, Bono blasts Martin for reneging on a promise to reach a foreign aid goal of 0.7% of GDP. "We were looking for Canada to lead rather than be a laggard," Bono said, adding he's "bewildered" and "disappointed" by the PM's just-released international policy statement (a pretty good document, but long overdue).

Bono goes onto criticize the PM for failing to deliver adequate aid cash while Canada enjoys a surplus economy. Accusing Martin of trying to "hold up history," the rocker broadcasts the PMO switchboard number (613-992-4211) and asks Canadians to call in to register their complaint. Hopefully this doesn't mean the U2 show in Ottawa is in jeopardy.

How the mighty have fallen. As Paul Wells states on his blog, whatever happened to Martin's "Canada will change the world attitude?" It has been replaced by survival - pure and simple.


Luigi was busy

Super Mario" Dumont has once again reiterated that he will stay in Quebec provincial politics - which is too bad because he would have given the Conservatives a chance to win a seat in Quebec.

Now comes word that the Action democratique du Quebec (ADQ) Leader Dumont has ruled out a formal coalition with the federal Conservatives in any coming election. This was on the table? Stephen Harper would be wise to reach out to other federalists in Quebec and not just pigeonhole himself with a third-party - a party who is often on the wrong side of social or fiscal issues in the province.

Dumont contends that the ADQ wants to retain its independence and ability to criticize or work with all parties. Does it really matter? Who cares what Dumont has to say on federal issues? Does Howard Hampton have sway in Ontario? Does David Karwacki have sway in Saskatchewan? Leaders of third parties are almost irrelevant in their own province so why should anyone care what they think about federal politics.


2010 is quick approaching

The Vancouver Olympics have a logo and it is a good one.

Tip of the cap to 2010 folks, I can hardly wait.

Saturday, April 23, 2005


American I-diddle

Apparently the nutty Paula Abdul has had a few side performances with male candidates on the Fox hit televison show.

No word if the same can be said for Ben Mulroney with male candidates in Canada. Stay tuned.

In other news, Ryan Seacrest got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Was Dustin Diamond too busy?


Men (women) overboard

It is beginning to smell an awful lot like 1992. Prominent Liberals are starting to send signals that they may not run in the upcoming election rather than face an increasingly angry electorate. Feisty John Efford, he of the seal skin of coat, is the latest to say he may take a pass on the election. Efford, citing health reasons, may be prepared to give up the limo or Canadians may be prepared to give him the ole heave ho.

The flip-side of this equation is that so-called *Star* candidates are lining up to run for the Conservatives. Rumours are flying that Donovan Bailey, former broadcaster Peter Kent and former Harris crony Jim Flaherty (he of the uberconservative ilk) are lining up to run in Ontario. The happiest person in this transaction is John Tory (future Ontario Premier?) as he gets to continually rid himself of the nasty Harris assholes.

There is also word that former NHLer Russ Courtnall is being pursued - the papers are calling him a former hockey star, however that is really stretching it. It is akin to saying that Mike Bullard is a television star. Come to think of it, I wonder if the NDP have approached him about being their star candidate?


Best Early Campaign Slogans

1. Don't you miss the good old days - 15% unemployment, $42 billion deficit, 12% mortgage rates, a Conservative scandal every month? Elect us and we can bring them back!;

2. Liberals: They Have What it Takes to Take What You Have;

3. More Guns, More Prayer, Fewer Gays: The new and improved Conservative Party of Canada;

4. Even the Cardinals like a Conservative; and

5. Hmmm, over here... we are the NDP.

Feel free to suggest others. Let's get the ball rolling!


Tony is gunning for 3

It isn't all Gomery, all the time. There are other political events in Canada and the world. As mentioned earlier, our friends in British Columbia are going to polls in less than a month. It is worth noting, however, that are good friends in the United Kingdom are set to vote in 12 days.

Tony Blair is seeking a third majority... sound familiar. He is in tough against Michael Howard and the Tories. All the polls to date show Labour poised to win again since they are enjoying anywhere from a 3 to 7 point lead.

The BBC has a fantastic election website for those that what to read more.

My money is on Tony. Blair and Gordon Brown have provided the UK with good government.


The right to govern is not an entitlement and...

Federal liberals are learning the hard way. For the better part of the 20th century and early in the 21st, the federal political scene has been dominated by the Liberal Party of Canada. Now, however, the winds of change are blowing. Canadians, as they do from time to time, are poised to send the Liberals packing, it is unclear if it will be Mulroney / Campbell packing, but all bets are off.

The genie does appear out of the election bottle and Martin will not be able to chase it down. As poll after poll rolls out showing the Conservatives slowly amassing a solid, but not insurmountable lead, the Liberal brand continues to wither on the vine. In fact, the Conservatives are polling near majority territory.

This wouldn't be the worse thing in the world for the Liberals or the NDP. The party leading in the polls, and thus perceived front-runner will come under intense public scrutiny. This will be good for the country to see exactly what a Harper lead government would deliver. My conservative friends can claim that he will provide good and clean government. So what! That slogan may get play for the first few days of the campaign, but then real policy will be examined.

As I have mentioned before, I eagerly await the Conservative platform. It should contain their strengths - less government, lower taxes and a stronger, more focused military. Sadly, they will be promising more power to Auditor General (more government - just what we need in Ottawa an army of bean counters), more agricultural subsidies (no government handouts here - free market all the way) and will attempt to preserve the traditional definition of marriage.

As bad as this current collection of Liberals is, I am not convinced that a Harper government is going to provide a better government. The party still has some kinks to iron out. If this was a year from now, maybe. Or should I take solace in the fact that Stockwell "An Inch Deep and a Mile Wide" Day will be our foreign mouthpiece?

Prove me wrong Stephen, prove me wrong.

Friday, April 22, 2005


Quarterly Music Update - 2005

In the player right now (still no IPOD and no good reason):

LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem
The Decemberists - Picaresque
Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
Kathleen Edwards - Back To Me
Kaiser Chiefs - Employment
Bloc Party - Silent Alarm
Jack Johnson - In Between Dreams
John Butler Trio - Sunrise over Sea
Dogs Die in Hot Cars - Please Describe Yourself

PS - The Shins was a fantastic concert the other night in Montreal.


Pressure mistake

Geoff Norquay knows better than this. Paul Martin can be compared to a lot of unfavourable people, but Osama bin Laden? Geoff is a bright guy and good speaker. Let's hope this isn't the sign of things to come from the Conservative war room.

Apology accepted.


Pope Benedict XVI does the reach...around (not out)

A classic example of why separation between church and state is warranted.

With the ink barely dry on Pope Benedict's commitment to reach out to other faiths, he has decided to weigh in on the gay marriage (adoption) issue in Spain. The Pope has responded firmly, to the first challenge of his papacy, by condemning a Spanish government bill allowing marriage between homosexuals.

This is just one of many frustrating issues (women can't be priests, the see no evil, report no evil mentality, etc...) that I have with Catholic leadership. On the one hand, I don't expect the church to change beliefs and except gay marriage. It is their right not to change beliefs - their idea of change is to make sure they rotate alter boys from time to time. I do, however, expect Roman Catholic officials to obey the law. The Vatican has sent word that officials should be prepared to lose their jobs rather than co-operate with the law. This is just plain wrong.

The law of the land is the law of the land. I don't agree with many laws, but in the end I am bound to obey them OR seek office to change them. Not the Catholic Church. Simply send word that Catholics need not obey this one. Maybe next one.


Mr.Muggs is on the verge

There is quite the circus sideshow going on a nation's capital. No, not our nation's capital, although that is humorous, I am speaking of the attempted confirmation hearing of John Bolton in Washington. Bolton is trying to become the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Bolton (another Bush draft dodger through deferment) is some piece of work. He believes that the United Nations (an organization ripe with problems - to be fair) is a complete waste of space. In fact, he is quoted as saying: "There is no such thing as the United Nations... if the UN secretary building in New York lost ten stories it wouldn't make a bit of difference. This appointment makes about as much sense as Canada appointing Jacques Parizeau to some international role.

It is bad when your friends and follow Republicans testify that you are evil. This has been the case for the better part of the past two weeks. Bolton is accused of bullying intelligence analysts into coloring their assessments to fit his views. Helps explain why the Iraq dossier was such a disaster.

In fact, Bolton is not getting any help on his file from one of the only federal politician’s with bipartisan appeal - Colin Powell. If Colin Powell, who worked with him for four years, is not going to bat then I say move on.

George W may I suggest Plan B - this Bolton appears available.


Call the election before somebody gets hurt

Who is fooling who here? Conservative health critic Steven Fletcher calling Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh outside to settle a dispute in a Commons Health Committee meeting on Thursday. Yikes!

The committee was supposed to be examining Health Canada's spending estimates for the coming year, but most members didn't even refer to current spending plans. "Was it a good idea when your government cut $25 billion from the health-care system in 1995?" asked Fletcher, in one of his opening questions.

Sidenote - That is just bullshit and Fletcher knows better. The cuts were from the CHST and not all of it goes to health. It doesn't make the cuts right, but let's talk in fact.

Outside note - A tip of the cap to Fletcher for moving the motion on Hep C victims.

Fletcher did have a good retort to Dosanjh's claim that Stephen Harper wants to commodify health care. He fired back that the Canada Health Act already allows for private health care, and that the majority of doctors' offices are private businesses, yet the Liberals suggest that "somehow private delivery of health care is evil."

The classic moment in question followed soon after, when after further mutual interruptions, Fletcher snapped: "If you'd like to take this outside, I'd be happy to."

"I'm not a physical kind of guy," said Dosanjh, to laughter. "Neither am I," said Fletcher. "Don't be shocked if you have any tire marks."

The funny thing is I don't think Fletcher was joking. I only hope the election main course is a good as the appetizer.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Best Before February 1, 2006 - Your government

Well it was quite a night in Canadian politics. The Prime Minister of Canada postponed your nightly chance to see the former Prime Minister's weasel son on E-Talk Daily to address the nation. For 6 minutes and 50 seconds, Prime Minister Paul Martin stared out into Canadian homes and updated them on the comings and goings of the Gomery Commission. Essentially he pleaded with Canadians to reserve final judgment on the file until all the facts are known. This move was quite a gamble for Paul Martin. Should he have taken this unprecedented move? Did it work?

The answer to the first question is yes, however, he should have done it sooner. Any reader will know that I am not the number one fan of the current PM. He has many, many shortcomings, however, in this case he was justified to address the country. My advice to him would have been to make his case earlier. He should have done it when the trial shifted to Montreal. Everyone knew that some of the testimony was going to be explosive. Get ahead of the curve and address it head on. A poor choice in waiting to address it, but better late than never.

On the second point, the jury is still out. As I turned on the television I was expecting to see a man who looked defeated, however, that was not the case. My initial reaction was that he did remarkable better than I thought he could or would do. It was a good speech - forceful, direct and honest. He knows he is in shit and he admits it. He took responsibility and assured us we are voting soon. How soon is up to the opposition.

Overall rating: 6

So just how did the opposition responses look?

Stephen Harper missed a golden opportunity. Those that claim he came out looking the best didn’t watch close enough or are already voting Conservative. Harper was his usual charming self - aloof, smug, contrite and angry. I half expected him to jump through my television. Now, to be fair, his anger this time is somewhat justified. The Martin government is trying to govern like it has a majority, however, his tone was more school yard bully than Prime Ministerial. He did reach out directly to Quebec and framed the sponsorship file as a Liberal scandal and not a Quebec scandal. A wise move.

Overall rating: 4

Gilles Duceppe did what he had to do - show up. He made the right references and rubbed salt in the federalist cause by picking the scab. Looked like the future Premier of Quebec to me.

Overall rating: 9

Jack Layton was good, not great. The expectations aren't high for the Federal NDP, however, he gets full marks for linking real issues, and the lack of progress on them, to the paralysis that is government. A nice touch to re-state your drop the corporate tax cuts, invest in people and we will support you pledge.

Overall rating: 7

At the end of it all, nothing changed. I still want to hear all the testimony and have the Commission file its final report. Do you really want to rush to polls on the basis of testimony from Jean Brault? Remember this guy is awaiting criminal charges and doesn't exactly have the cleanest rap sheet. Like any good trial all witnesses should be heard and then the judge (and jury) can render a verdict.


It is a bird, no plane.... ah wait it is Webster

A Georgia police officer will be reprimanded for not giving a speeding ticket to former star of Webster, Emmanuel Lewis, after he was clocked driving 25 mph over the posted speed limit. Amazingly, Lewis was towing a trailer loaded with a sport utility vehicle. No word yet if Corey Feldman was riding shotgun.

He got off with a verbal warning. Lewis, then gave his autograph and posed for a photo with police Officer Ron Kirk. Apparently Officer Kirk doesn't know that Webster hasn't been on the air for almost two decades.


When activism goes really, really wrong

The leader of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is standing by a board member who has spoken approvingly of assassinating people in order to protect animal life.

Paul Watson, who founded and remains the primary voice of the anti-sealing group, says he supports Jerry Vlasak, a California physician, who once told a conference that assassination would be an "effective tactic" against researchers who use animals in their experiments. Apparently the man in the photo below should have someone take a bat to him.

This story is just bizarre. It is one thing to disagree with an issue and protest it. For example, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) often come up with gimmicky slogans and use celebrities to make their point. It is, however, another to protest it (while condoning, even advocating, violence). There is a line where activism becomes lunacy and too many protesters often cross it.

Remember 1998 in Buffalo (this is just one of too many examples on this subject) when a doctor, who performs abortions, is gunned down outside his clinic? How about when students took a battering ram to a hotel where the government caucus was meeting?

Why can't more protests involve this instead of violence?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Political junkies can get and give their fix

Can't get enough politics from Bourque, Coyne, Simpson or Kinsella? You may want to try getting your fix riding by riding on Canada's best election prediction site. The University of Waterloo hosts a website dedicated to select election across the country and allows individuals to post comments from their ridings.

Check it out at:


To the polls we go.....on June 27

According to a Globe and Mail report this morning, this country is headed for an election on June 27. If this is the case it will be one nasty campaign. Plus, it will mean that the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Alberta and Saskatchewan is once again up in the air (this could be an annoyance that the Conservatives don’t need in the prairies).

It is for the best that this session of parliament end since the government is playing silly bugger with Opposition days, drifting aimlessly and Ottawa is paralyzed with election fever.

The country is torn on who is best to lead us. Leadership will be a big issue in the coming campaign and if my name is Don't Know (polling at 22%), I am quite happy.

Although campaigning could be a bitch.

Another sign an election is imminent... there have been Elsie Wayne sightings. The tweed is back baby!


Let the games begin

Our friends in British Columbia will officially vote in a provincial election on May 17. Premier Gordon Campbell made it official in Victoria, after paying a formal visit to Lt.-Gov. Iona Campagnolo to dissolve the legislature.

At dissolution, the Liberals had 72 seats in the 79-seat legislature, while the NDP had three. Democratic Reform B.C. had one seat, one more was held by an Independent and two were vacant.


This election should provide some interesting viewing since the two main parties share no love loss for each other and Campbell has had his share of bad press. In fairness to him, the province has performed a remarkable economic turnout in the past few years. This, however, could work for or against him. It only depends what side of the fence you are on.

British Columbia has a weird electoral history. It has been over two decades since they have returned a sitting Premier. It should be noted that sitting Premier's haven't exactly helped with this statistic as most have flamed out after 4 years. Remember Glen Clark?

The latest poll had the Liberals out in front, but it still is likely to be closer than many believe.


Urban Dictionary is not your father's Webster's (NSFW)

Read and click at your own peril.

The advent of the urban dictionary has institutionalized many of society's dirty little phrases (and actions). In fact, this is a document that now includes, among others, the Dirty Sanchez, the Stranger and Santorum (brilliantly named after Senator Rick Santorum).If you went to college or university in the 1990s, you will be familiar many of these frat terms.

If you haven't check it out, it is worth a gander.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Pimp my Vatican - not this conclave

Well it is official; the new Pope is Benedict XVI (German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger). Joe Ratzinger should not be confused with John Ratzenberger. Although both of these people have never been in my kitchen.

Seriously though, the election of Ratzinger as Pope shouldn't come as a complete surprise. By most accounts, he had been the frontrunner to succeed John Paul II for months, if not years.

To say that Ratzinger's selection represents a clear victory for the more conservative side (is there another side? Does uberconservative count?) of the church is a huge understatement. As cardinal, Ratzinger attracted a boatload of criticism for his stance on women as priests, birth control and homosexuality. That zeal in enforcing orthodoxy attracted quite a few labels over the years. Ratzinger has been called variously "The Hammer" (similar to Jim Shapiro?), "Cardinal No," even "God's Rottweiler."

Ratzinger, 78, is poised to take the church in the same direction that has left many fleeing the benches. He has railed against changing the church's stance and offered this firm quote: "Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the church, is often labeled today as fundamentalism, whereas relativism, which is letting oneself, be tossed and swept along by every wind of teaching, looks like the only attitude acceptable to today's standards."

Those hoping for a greater role for women in the church will be disappointed. I guess they will have to continue to be happy with their role in the choir. Ratzinger has been front and center in guarding against any relaxation of the church's steadfast opposition to birth control.

In fact, he intervened against John Kerry in United States 2004 Presidential Election. Ratzinger ordered bishops to deny communion to abortion rights supporters including Kerry himself. He did this on the grounds that they were committing a grave sin. A footnote to the letter also condemned any Catholic who votes specifically for a candidate because the candidate holds a pro-abortion position. Such a voter "would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for holy communion," the letter read.

Ratzinger also served in the Hitler Youth during World War II when membership was compulsory, according to his autobiography. Gasp! It should be noted that his biographer’s say he was never a member of the Nazi party and his family opposed Adolf Hitler's regime.

The church missed the boat on this selection. They could have chosen a more progressive candidate or someone from a developing country. Instead they go back to the well of stale, stuffy white men. In essence, it appears the church is content to keep the blinders on for the 21st century.


Stupid people with cars are still stupid

Wanted a man wearing a wanted t-shirt

In Chicago, a bold and outrageous theft staged in broad daylight, saw a driver pump about $900 worth of gasoline at a suburban gas station. The man removed the panel of a pump in Country Club Hills and manipulated the mechanics of the pump so that it would continue to pump gas without registering inside the station.

Cars then began pulling up to the pump and, apparently, cut deals with the thief, who then filled up their tanks and took off. In a 45-minute period of time, the thief doled out about $900 worth of gas. Apparently the staff inside the gas bar were unaware of the entrepreneur in their midst. The Donald would be proud!


Police issue travel alert - Don't make snow angels on dry pavement.

Police in Burnaby issued an unusual warning to drivers on Monday: If you run out fuel, do not lay down on the road to get assistance.

Police were alerted to a man's body laying along the Trans Canada Highway in the predawn darkness only to discover he was "quite alive", but that his car had run out of gas and he "wanted to attract someone's attention". The man's car was towed, but no charges were filed.

Worried that copycats may run (out of gas) and try this. The Police issued this nugget of information. "Guess it worked, but police don't really recommend this method."

The hilarity is two-fold. One, this event actually happened. Two, the police issued a press release about it. Obviously, the old cat-up-the-tree is reserved for really, really slow news days.


Quality television where are thee?

First the Family Guy and now word that Arrested Development may get cancelled. The cancellation would occur despite five Emmys, including one for TV's best comedy. The show recently had its order shortened from 22 to 18 episodes and is very much in danger of the axe.

Admittedly, the ratings have barely moved from their dismal year-ago numbers. Arrested Development ranks 118th this season to date in the U.S., behind such shows as The Swan 2 (they made a sequel?) and America's Funniest Home Videos (does Bob Saget still host?).

If it does go off the air, I will purchase the 2nd season on DVD and enjoy it as much as the first. However, here is hoping the desperate HBO picks it up and runs it with Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Monday, April 18, 2005


Future Minister of Sport?

There are strong rumours that Donovan Bailey will carry the Conservative banner in the upcoming election. He has been mentioned by numerous sources (John Reynolds wish list), shown up at Belinda's $100 K party in Montreal and was practically confirmed by Peter MacKay on Sunday Report yesterday. The latter was hilarious, MacKay was like a kid with a secret practically begging the hosts to ask who he meant, but having no intention of telling. Pete is invited to my next poker game - worst poker face ever!


Monday Evening Quarterbacking

Election fever is in overdrive amongst political commentators. Many columns must be viewed with a huge grain of salt, however, Chantal Hebert's piece in the Toronto Star got me thinking. What if she is correct - she has a pretty good track record.

Hebert contends that the NDP is the electoral wild card in the volatile mix of a snap spring federal election. Stop yourself if you heard this leading up to the last election or dozens of other times, but this time it makes some sense. The NDP has more power than just their current seat count.

A surge in NDP support could have profound consequences on the outcome of the next election. The Liberals are not going to get away with fiery anti-Conservative rhetoric that essentially drained part of the NDP support. This was particularly the case in some ridings in Saskatchewan (Regina and Saskatoon) and Ontario (North and GTA). It helps to explain Lorne Nystrom going down to defeat. Plus, unlike last election, left-of-centre voters would be more likely to permanently park their protest with the NDP.

Here are Hebert’s sample scenarios:

A majority Conservative government: In some areas of Canada, an increase in NDP support at the expense of the Liberals opens the way to more Tory wins.

A minority Conservative government with either the Bloc or the NDP or both holding the balance of power.

A Liberal-NDP coalition government.

That last notion is not on very many radar screens these days, yet it is less farfetched than the notion of a Conservative-Bloc alliance. It appeared that the country was heading there until late election night when some British Columbia seats continued to flip-flop between the Conservatives and the NDP.

A left-of-centre coalition government in a Parliament where the like-minded Bloc Québécois would be heavily represented would probably have a longer shelf life than a right-wing minority government with little or no representation from Quebec. Plus, it likely would put less strain on national unity.


Unbelievable lucky

A gigantic OOPS goes out to the Sunday Mirror. The UK paper had to pull some of its editions after wrongly identifying a man as the so-called "Lotto rapist". Iorworth Hoare, 52 and originally from Leeds, won £7m on Lotto Extra in 2004 and was released from jail in March. The article claimed to show Hoare "on the loose" on a UK seafront, but used pictures of the wrong man.

This story is scary and funny, but what is more amazing is the background detail. Hoare won £7m on the National Lottery while in prison and survived. Amazingly, he bought the ticket while serving a life sentence for attempted rape. He was on release from Leyhill open prison in Gloucestershire when he bought his winning ticket in August 2004. From there it only gets better.

Hoare, who has a history of previous sex crimes, including rape, was one of three winners to share Saturday's £21m Lotto Extra jackpot. He actually had to share with two other winners. Imagine telling that story to your relatives. I won a boatload of money with an accountant, mill-worker and a rapist out on a day pass.

Under British Home Office guidelines, prisoners on temporary release from jail are allowed to play the lottery and can claim a winning prize. They actually have rules for this stuff, I love the British! But the government department also said the prisoner's access to the money would be restricted while he was in custody.

On a serious note, I assume that the channels are wide open for a civil suit from his victims. He does have deep pockets.

Sunday, April 17, 2005


Insult of the day

Mariah Carey says her flop movie 'Glitter' helped Americans recover from the tragedy of September 11th. The pop diva claims her widely-panned film drew in audiences desperate for light relief from the horror of the terrorist attacks. If that is the case, would the movie not have grossed more than a paltry 4.2 Million?

Carey is quoted by the New York Post as saying: "People forget 'Glitter' came out the week of 9/11.”The movie became a pressure release for everyone dealing with the intensity of the attacks. 'Glitter' was the safe joke of the day."

She goes on to say that the semi-autobiographical story shared too many similarities with her own life for her to enjoy it properly. She added: "The problem was 'Glitter' was about a diva moment. It was too close to my life." No the problem with Glitter was it attempted to be a movie.

Carey's comments are just another example of how out of touch movie stars and musicians are with society. The real people who helped America heal were the New York Police Department, the New York Fire Department and the thousands of volunteers who cleaned up the mess in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.


The NRA has cat scratch fever.

Live it to no talent, loud mouthed, aging rocker (term used loosely) Ted Nugent to cement the case for gun control. Spare the Canadian spending boondoggle that is the file, the intent is correct.

With an assault weapon in each hand, Nugent, an avoid gun rights advocate, urged National Rifle Association members to be "hardcore, radical extremists demanding the right to self-defence."

There is no problem with citizens owning guns for hunting and protection, but assault weapons. It is one thing to think the King of England is coming to take your land and possessions, but he is not bringing a militia. Nobody needs to own an AK or Uzi. A simple shotgun or handgun will do.

Nugent is emblematic of the NRA's extreme views. Their leadership, when pressed, refused not to allow membership to people on the United States most wanted list. Leaders simply just dismissed it as a list. They are correct in that, but it is a list of the most dangerous and wanted individuals in the country. Idiots!

Nugent concluded his remarks with these pearls of wisdom. "Remember the Alamo (the event not the horrible Billy Bob movie)! Shoot 'em!" "To show you how radical I am, I want carjackers dead. I want rapists dead. I want burglars dead. I want child molesters dead. I want the bad guys dead. No court case. No parole. No early release. I want 'em dead.

There is no truth to the rumour that Nugent was considered for US Attorney General or is about to be tapped to the Supreme Court.