Saturday, February 25, 2006
Spotted in India, Will Smith is attmepting to bridge the gap between Hollywood and Bollywood. Smith was quoted saying "I really feel there is a marriage to be made between Hollywood and Bollywood,". He was in Mumbai Friday, the home of India's Hindi-language film industry.
In other news, a very white man, profusely sweating and covered in freckles was also spotted today in Mumbai, he will not be in the film- but is said to be returning to Canada and his blog sometime early next week.
First Date Drama
Turns out that the dinner tonite at Mr. Harpers was like a standard first date. Everyone talked about what they wanted, goals and ideas, but no one made any concrete agreements.
There was also some discussion about the ex, specifically referring to the Kelowna agreement, post-secondary education and the situation with the current childcare program- but nothing too personal or specific.
Like any honorable suitor, Harper told the media it was "just dinner".
We will soon find out if Canadians will have to continue hop-scotching dating their federal governments, or if we can settle in for the long-term and stop shaving our legs.
Cross- posted at feminurse
Friday, February 24, 2006
Canadian Women Bring Home the Hardware
The Canadian Winter Olympics team has done a smashing job this year with a record setting medal haul in Torino. The previous record was 17 medals set in Salt Lake City, 2002. The Canadian team is currently sitting at 19 medals, 14 of those won by women. This makes Canadian women #1 in the world, and Cindy Klassen is leading the pack with her record-setting four medals. Klassen has more medals than Czech Republic, Slovakia and Great Britain put together. Tomorrow Klassen will go for an unprecedented fifth gold medal in the 5000 m.
The men have some time to play catch up...the men’s curling team is currently playing for gold or silver, men are also expected to medal in four-man bobsleigh and short-track speed skating.
The fact that Canadian women are excelling at sport in international competition demonstrates the funding equality that exists in Canadian sport that is not present in all other competing countries. This is an outcome that Canadians should be proud of... Besides, someone had to bring home the Gold in hockey!
Cross-posted at feminurse
Ask and You Shall Receive
Jessica Alba was voted the sexiest woman in showbiz. She beat out other contenders Halle Berry and Eva Longaria. Second sexiest star was voted Jamie Pressly and third was Jenny McCarthy.
No mention of where Jessica Simpson fits in all this.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Nursing Shortage in Saskatchewan (this is news???)
Today, the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN) released a statement to the media and Health Minister Len Taylor regarding a need to integrate 600 new registered nurses into Saskatchewan healthcare in the upcoming budget.
The memo lists the following concerns:
- Saskatchewan’s supply of Registered Nurses is shrinking, while all other provinces
(except Nova Scotia) are experiencing an increase in the RN workforce.
- Saskatchewan has the worst RN retention rate (66.8%) of all the provinces, with no
progress since 1997.
- Saskatchewan fails to set specific targets for retention and recruitment of RNs and RPNs
SUN is urging the government to commit and make some solid benchmarks in order to ensure the maintenance of safe patient care in Saskatchewan.
Though there has been mounting rhetoric about the pending ‘nursing shortage’, the focus on this human resources crisis has subsided lately with the preoccupation shifting to wait times. The release of this statement seems to signal that there need not be any waiting for the nursing shortage, it is upon us.
Saskatchewan needs to set some realistic goals pertaining to sustainable retention and recruitment. Debt reduction has been one attraction for nurses to stay in the province, but it seems that the province needs to get serious about competing for the nurses who so often flee to the United States and larger city centers. It may seem unpatriotic or even unprincipled that these new grads are leaving this country , but the United States offer nurses what they are worth- signing bonuses, moving expenses, assistance finding work for spouses. What’s more, is that nurses in the States seem to be less likely to face the problems of overwork that nurses in Saskatchewan will feel almost immediately after beginning work.
The profession of nursing has been working on overhauling their image to include a more professional persona and I think a commitment from the government may begin to highlight the importance of the nursing profession. This recognition would not only engage those within the profession as valuable members of the healthcare team, but show the citizens of Saskatchewan that their health is a priority.
Cross-posted at feminurse
There seems to be a trend in the blogosphere these past two weeks with bloggers going away and 'sitters' such as myself taking over. Along with Coyne and Wells, Shaky is off jet-setting the globe and has no time to blog.
I will be cross-posting from Feminurse, my home sweet home.
Shaky will be back early next week.
ps: There will be no Jessica Simpson!
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
My laptop is smoking
Lakehead University, located in Thunder Bay Ontario (home of the Ontario Student Assistance Program), is pulling the plug on Wi-Fi for health reasons.
There are currently more than 1,100 WiFi hotspots operated independently across the country. Fredericton, New Brunswick has a Wi-Fi zone that encompasses nearly half the city from the airport to downtown. Several other Canadian cities including Calgary and Vancouver are investigating the possibility of no more wires, yet Lakehead has put up a stop sign. Why?
Lakehead President Fred Gilbert won’t allow it until he’s satisfied EMF (electric and magnetic fields) exposure doesn’t pose a health risk, particularly to young people.
Gilbert, who was interviewed last week on the CBC about the university’s policy as stated in a town hall meeting last fall, told ITBusiness.ca he based his decision on scientific literature that indicates the potential for “some fairly significant” health consequences.
“These are particularly relevant in younger people (who have) fast-growing tissues, and most of our student body are late teenagers and still growing, so it’s just a matter of taking precautions and providing an environment that doesn’t have a potential risk associated risk."
President Gilbert cited studies done by scientists for the California Public Utilities Commission, whose findings boil down to the fact that while there is no proven link between EMFs exposure and diseases such as leukemia and brain tumours, the possible risk warrants further investigation.
Gilbert may want to do further research into the WiFi situation. California is, after all where Silicon Valley is located. There are large sections of San Francisco (with a plan to take the city wireless) which are now WiFi and thousands of spaces inside the state including civic libraries. Stanford University is one of the most technology advanced institutions in the United States and has a healthy dose of WiFi.
In fact, there are 186 communities in the US with plans for complete WiFi coverage including Chicago and Houston. London, England is set to make the financial district WiFi. Seattle - America's most wired city. The list could go on and on.
President Gilbert added he believes there are many environmental impacts that are not manifest for 30 to 40 years after exposure:
“Second-hand tobacco exposure is a case in point,” he said. “We’re just finding out now what some of those impacts are. Asbestos is another example.”
Gilbert concluded that there are plenty of computers around campus where students can access the Internet 24 hours a day, so it’s not like they’re cut off. As they scramble to use these Vic 20's maybe a few students can pass the abacus and graph paper around. Maybe the problem could be tracked down to internet addiction.
Who will be the first to protest on September 25 - One Unwired Day?
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Test your knowledge of American geography
Beat 88% in 500 secs.
Monday, February 20, 2006
A failure to communicate
Less than 2 weeks into the mandate and already the pink slips are out. Goodbye William Stairs, former Conservative Director of Communications. Chief of Staff Ian Brodie wished Stairs well and says that he is looking forward to working with Stairs as he moves on to new pportunities. The new opportunities are not outlined, however, maybe he could join John Reynolds as a non-lobbyist.
One last time
Thrifty and Nifty
Dunkin Go Nuts
The Missing Link
Canada needs to address the productivity gap and there are a couple of measures that can be done to address it. One, significant investment in post-secondary education and training. The provinces and federal government need to be investing more resources directly to institutions and individuals. Canada can not continue to throw money at consumption based issues (i.e. health care) without jeopardizing investment based measures (i.e. education).
Canadians deserve world class post-secondary institutions delivering high quality college, trade and university programs. These programs should be affordable and accessible to all qualified individuals. Both levels of government need to invest more money in student financial assistance and better targeting of existing aid to ensure more low-income students receive non-repayable aid.
Canadian post-secondary institutions need a greater degree of freedom with respect to their fee schedule. Does this mean higher tuition fees? Not in all cases, however, in some cases definitely. Students can't expect high quality educations for bargain basement prices. Institutions need to pay competitive faculty salaries and students need 21st century technology in the labs and classrooms. These expenditures require more and more resources each year from both the student and the state.
The provincial and territorial governments - read the Council of the Federation - are slated to meet later this week in Ottawa to discuss the state of post-secondary education and training in Canada. The stakeholders (students / faculty / senior administrators) are set to air their laundry list complaints and the jurisdictions are set to listen.
The likely consensus, if that is possible, outcome is more federal money is needed in the form of a dedicated post-secondary transfer. The desired transfer would not include any conditions - i.e. accountability. Education is a provincial responsibility, duh. See the Constitution for more details.
The Communiqué will also likely not include any quality, accessibility and affordability benchmarks. Why? It is not in provincial and territorial government interests to demand more resources and limit how they could actual spend additional monies. The bigger issue, however, is that there is no consensus from stakeholders on what benchmarks should measure.
Students, many, would like tuition fees (sticker price) rolled back - yes, like Wal-Mart - to 1990 levels and count that as an effective measure for affordability. Others may measure affordability with additional variables such as scholarships, loans and grants and actually look at out of pocket cost (sticker price minus available aid).
Unlike healthcare, where Canadians and stakeholders could talk the same language i.e. wait times, there is not one consensus issue for post-secondary education. There are too many voices and too many regional issues. What is important to New Brunswick may not be important to Alberta. This may be true for health care as well but it is even more pronounced in education.
These problems are further compounded by another larger issue. There is no political champion for post-secondary education. Who thinks and breathes education and skills training? Not a single elected official at any level of government.
Dalton McGuinty has, at times, tried to brand himself an education Premier. He attempted to get there by appointing former Ontario Premier Bob Rae to head a major rethink of post-secondary in Ontario. Sadly, he is loosing steam on this front.
Alberta tried this with their large post-secondary summit in the fall, however, that could be viewed skeptically as a profile raising exercise for a potential Conservative leadership hopeful - Dave Hancock. Although, I am prepared to cut the Alberta government some slack because they tend to have both resources and innovation.
South of the border, however, things are a little different. The political landscape and nexus of power is not the same, however, the American political system usually has champions for a particular cause. Think John McCain - finance reform, Ted Kennedy - secondary education, Al Gore - environment and Newt Gingrich - smaller government.
U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, a Pennsylvania Democrat, is no different. Fattah has dedicated his 2o years in elected office to improving accessibility and affordability for United States higher education.
Fattah decided to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his annual Fattah Conference on Higher Education by unveiling a big surprise for the 700 undergraduates attending a conference luncheon on Saturday in Philadelphia: full graduate scholarships.
Fattah agreed that his dramatic announcement bore some resemblance to the attention-grabbing awards of free cars and other consumer goods that Oprah Winfrey has bestowed on her talk-show audiences. He claims, and is probably right, that the scholarships are intended to turn the heads of minority undergraduate students at the conference and elsewhere, who often wrongly believe that they lack the resources or grades for graduate study.
The total amount to be disbursed could reach as high as $25-million. The scholarships can be used by this year's Fattah conference attendees who are accepted for graduate studies at any one of 17 Pennsylvania institutions of higher education that have signed on to the program, including Temple University, Drexel University, and the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.
Granted, not every Canadian politician has this kind of money - although Belinda does and Magna currently runs that lame Prime Minister exercise - but our politicians could still generate ideas and discussion.
Canadian politicians are too fixated on short-term (e.g. one-time equalization fixes), reactive (clean-up government) polling politics instead of long-term (e.g. Clarity Act), visionary mapping politics (Canada Health Act).
There were so many memorable wrestling moments in the 1980's. Who can forget Unlce Elmer's live wedding on SNME? Uncle Elmer had a cup of coffee in the circuit and was part of Hillbilly Jim's entourage. In fact, the wedding was after the fastest pin in WWF history at 6 seconds. This shattered the previous record of 9 seconds when King Kong Bundy pinned SD (Special Delivery) Jones at Wrestlemania I. Who could forget SD? He was the quintessential good guy, bad luck wrestler. One could go on and on all day about these great athletes of the past, however, there is little time.
The one thing that always struck me about wrestling in the 1980s was Hulk Hogan and how excited he got during interviews. Was there a better clip then Hulk in his day?
The best Hulk clip ever comes courtesy of Wrestlemania IV. I love the Trump references and the backstroke, classic. Mean Gene looks stunned.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
X & Y
Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, upon winning the best single for "Speed of Sound", started musing about the band going on a prolonged hiatus - i.e. breakup. Coldplay fans have long thought Ms.Paltrow would play the role of Yoko and break the band up, however, it appears that time off is just what the doctor may order.
A Coldplay representative was left to spin for the band and explain that Martin and co. are just ready for a little rest and relaxation.
A warm Calgary welcome
One of my better, long time friends in Calgary has started his own blog. He frequently comments on Moldy - hopefully that doesn't change - so we know that he is not short on opinions.
You can bet his blog will feature politics, science fiction and gadgets. He loves shiny toys.
Welcome to the blogosphere - Prairie Boy.
Friday, February 17, 2006
Dick Cheney, who apparenttly gave President Bush a powerful explaination of the event, shots a man and Harry Whittington then holds a press conference to announce that he feels sorry for the Vice-President and his family for the unecessary press coverage.
One has to wonder if Dick Cheney and George Bush have as much concern for American soliders and innocent citizens of Iraq as they do for their good friend and political donour.
I guess that I don't understand, in the words of Whittington, the great sport of quail hunting. It must be difficult to drive up to a cage, have birds released and fire upon them.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
The Usual Suspects
The domestic music industry continues to pay lip service to the emerging Canadian indie scene. Bands such as Arcade Fire, Teagan and Sara, Hot Hot Heat, Broken Social Scene, the Stars and the New Pornographers have been receiving rave reviews from international music critics and magazines to little avail. This continues to be lost on the domestic decision makers who would like to continue heaping praise on Bryan Adams, Celine Dion and other grey beards.
The 2006 nominees are no different. Alberta "rockers" Nickelback came out on top with six nominations, while young-fogey crooner Michael Bublé and pop-jazz songstress Diana Krall drew five nods apiece.
There is a new trend emerging, however, which is equally disturbing as continually going to the road-tested well. Canadian Idol contestants are becoming radio fed pablem and they are being rewarded.
2004 winner Kalan Porter and his arch-rival Theresa Sokyrka, 2004 fan favourite Jacob Hoggard and his mall-punk outfit Hedley, and last year's runner-up Rex Goudie — and one American Idol winner, Kelly Clarkson, will also be in the running for Juno statuettes.
Not convinced that Juno nominations are lifetime achievement nods? Simply examine the nominees for Band of the Year.
Nickelback will vie for group of the year with the Barenaked Ladies, Blue Rodeo, Our Lady Peace and Theory of a Deadman. You could close your eyes and pretend that it is 1995 with that list. The groups have remained essentially unchanged, give or take a name or two, since the 1990s.
The real crime is in the Fan Choice category. There is no Neil Young - who released one of his best pieces of work with Prairie Wind. There is not a single mention of the new wave of Canadian artists. Playing it safe, the industry selected these titles:
Diana Krall and Michael Bublé are there. Nickelback and Montreal's Green Day Wannabes Simple Plan are on the ballot. Yawn. However, the most insulting is the inclusion of Quebecker turned Vegas stalewart Céline Dion. She hasn't produced any new music save an Air Canada jingle and maybe a refined Dodge commerical, but still she gets the nod. Apparently, Rita McNeil was too busy sweeping East Coast Music Awards to be considered.
Maybe next year, when the awards are in Saskatoon, the Junos can enter the 21 century.
Read the full list of nominees here.
Axel No Rose
The 2006 Torino Olympics has provided some interesting stories already, but none more curious than Men's Figure Skating. The sport is clearly going through a rebuilding phase. How else can one explain the quality of the skaters on the world stage?
The 2006 field is clearly not anywhere near the quality of the previous 3 or 4 Winter Olympics. After watching the various Men's Free Skate performances, including the medal winning skates, one could be even more critical. These men train for all that time and that is the best collective efforts that are put forward. The same could be said for the Pairs event where the silver medalists fell and the women stopped to tend to an injury and then they restarted. Yet, with all this they won a medal.
Brian Orser, Brian Boitano, Kurt Browning, Elvis Stojko and Viktor Petrenko skated like giants compared to this field. It is clear that Figure Skating is going through a transition phase. In fact, one has to feel for Kurt Browning to analysis these skaters. He must be thinking if only I was born years later.
Evgeni Plushenko of Russia, for the fifth consecutive from the federation to win - took gold. He was the only skater who actually looked like a medalist. The remaining skaters bumbled and stumbled through the majority of their routines. There were countless falls. Tonnes of points left on the table as triples became doubles and doubles became singles.
Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland won silver and Canada's Jeff Buttle won bronze.
A Different Colour Pig at the Trough - Blue, not Red - Update
John Reynolds to lobby. That is a shock. It has been speculated for a couple of weeks, but now it is official. Messrs. Reynolds has official made good on his comment that a campaign is just a campaign.
Flashback to Campaign 2006:
Lobbying reform was a big issue for the Conservatives in this past campaign. Stephen Harper and the gang were all about lobbying reform and ethics. PM Stephen Harper and the Conservative government? Not so much.
To refresh your memory, here what the CPC's was campaigning on just over TWO weeks ago:
Toughen the lobbyists registration act. Under the Liberals, lobbying government – often by friends and associates of Liberal ministers – has become a multi-million dollar industry. Senior Liberals moved freely back and forth between elected and non-elected government posts and the world of lobbying.
The Conservative government plan:
• Extend to five years the period during which former ministers, ministerial staffers, and senior public servants cannot lobby government.
• Ban success or contingency fee arrangements.
•Require ministers and senior government officials to record their contacts with lobbyists.
• Make the Registrar of Lobbyists an independent Officer of Parliament.
• Give the Registrar of Lobbyists the mandate and resources to investigate violations.
• Extend to ten years the period during which violations can be investigated and prosecuted.
With Gordon O'Connor and John Reynolds recent appointments, I would say the Conservatives are off to a fine start.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Reynolds was recently sworn into the Privy Council (subscription) and now is set to lobby government. Under the old Liberal ways, Conservative bloggers and pundits would have been screaming bloody murder. Now, however, something tells me there will be talk of smart, strategic decisions as opposed to hypocricy. Just a hunch.
This is one of their main services Lang offers clients. I would suspect that John may aid them in this.
Globe Article - Feb 8th - Scroll down to see the bold
Raising the age of consent 'a priority' for Tories
OTTAWA -- Justice Minister Vic Toews says reform of the justice system will begin shortly after the House returns in April, and one of the first items on his agenda will be increasing the age of sexual consent.
"One of the issues that I would like to see brought forward as quickly as possible is the age of protection, raising that from 14 to 16, and looking at, of course, bringing in a close-in-age exemption," Mr. Toews told reporters after the first caucus meeting of the new governing Conservative party.
"We don't want to criminalize consenting sexual conduct between youth. We want to protect young people from adult sexual predators."
Raising the age of consent is an issue that has been pushed hard by socially right-wing lobby groups such as the Canada Family Action Coalition. It has also been the focus of private members' bills entered by other members of the Tory caucus.
If Mr. Toews is successful, he will go some small distance toward satisfying those supporters who look to his party for action on the small-c conservative social agenda. That group may have been feeling some frustration after being told that Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not initiate action on abortion and would accept any outcome of a free vote in the Commons on same-sex marriage.
If raising the age of consent is done as a stand-alone bill, it could be accomplished fairly quickly, Mr. Toews said. "That's a priority of our government. That's an example of how I would like to proceed."
But former Liberal justice minister Irwin Cotler said the issue has been taken out of context. Non-consensual sex is assault and is illegal at any age, he said. And it is illegal for young people under 18 to be exploited through pornography, prostitution or in a relationship of trust, authority or dependency.
"We don't want to criminalize consensual sexual activity which can range anywhere from kissing to sexual intercourse among young people," he said.
The appointment of Mr. Toews as Justice Minister is not without controversy. The member from Provencher in Manitoba was attorney-general in his own province before being elected federally, and, last year, he pleaded guilty to the charge of exceeding personal campaign expense limits in the 1999 provincial election.
He has also been criticized for his willingness to use the notwithstanding clause of the Constitution to override court decisions that he considers out of touch with the will of the people.
During the election campaign, for instance, the Liberals distributed excerpts from an interview he did with a U.S. right-wing organization in 2003 in which he said: "We have seen these radical liberal judges who have their own social agenda coming to the bench and forgetting that their responsibility is to interpret the law and not to make law. And so we are very, very concerned about that."
Mr. Toews has also been one of the leaders within his caucus in the fight to restore the traditional definition of marriage, all of which has left him a prime target of denunciation by the social left.
In his first news conference after being sworn in to cabinet, he said he would welcome U.S.-style review hearings for candidates to fill Supreme Court openings, possibly starting with a vacancy that currently needs to be filled. Mr. Toews said yesterday that he would like to move on that appointment as quickly as possible.
Mr. Toews's indications of his plans came as Mr. Harper moved quickly on some of his own, including announcing that party stalwart John Reynolds had been made a member of the Privy Council.
Twenty-six parliamentary secretaries were sworn in yesterday, including Calgary Southwest MP Jason Kenney, who was named to assist Mr. Harper, and James Moore of British Columbia, who will have the tough job of being parliamentary secretary to a Public Works Minister who, as a senator, will be unavailable to take questions in the House.
Rahim Jaffer of Edmonton has been named caucus chairman and Jay Hill of Prince George-Peace River is the Conservative Whip.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Much ado about nothing
There isn't a single reason to blame the Gretzkys for their personal decisions. Neither Janet nor Wayne have done anything wrong. She likes to legally bet her money on sporting events. Wayne may have a line of credit at a Vegas casino. This is worthy of a story, why?
Professional sports - the NHL / NBA / NFL and MLB - have profited immensely off individuals legally betting on teams and games. Las Vegas has added another couple of billion a year and few thousand residents as a result. Fantasy Leagues and drafts have become common place among middle age men across North America. Yet, somehow gambling still shocks individuals.
Sport's leagues, like provincial governments, are addicted to the revenue but don't want to face the *ugly* side of gambling. Gambling problems are diseases and need the proper attention and resources to offer first rate treatments.
Wayne Gretzky is Canada's best athlete of all-time. He is the greatest hockey player ever to lace up skates - Don Cherry can have his Bobby Orr. He has committed himself completely to assisting Canadian hockey regain supremacy. What is the thanks that is returned to him?
Macleans - the new, edgy format masquerading as a supermarket tabloid with a hint of news - runs a full length story on Gretzky detailing his personal and business loses, his coaching struggles and now the "gambling issues." At least Ken Whyte can now try to drive a second Canadian publication into the ground.
Now, the point of this post. No charges will be laid on Janet Gretzky. There is no reason to believe that Global, CBC, the Toronto Star, ESPN or any other media outlet will issue an apology. It is par for the course in today's society where an individual is guilty until proven innocent.
Canada's annual beer exports to the United States rose following the implementation of the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement.
The report also outlines how the increase in Canada's beer exports south of the border has far exceeded the modest rise in beer imported from the United States in recent years resulting in a growing trade surplus.
Americans love Canadian beer for various reasons, but none more so than the obvious - more alcohol content. I am sure that much of this surplus can be pinpointed to the under 35 crowd.
Frat houses across the US contributing to Canada's GDP.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Former Mulroney Finance Minister Michael Wilson is set to be named Canada's Ambassador to the United States.CTV broke the story and others are slow to follow.
This is a good move by the PMO. Wilson has the experience and business / political connections in the States. Plus, the Liberals shouldn't criticize too loud since he served them in various capacities.
Shadowy Men From A Shadowy Planet
On the undercard:
Former British Columbia Health Minister Penny Priddy vs. Former Ontario Health Minister and current federal Health Minister Tony Clement.
In the big lights on Barrington Street:
Former NDP Leader Alexa McDonough vs. Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay.
This should be interesting watch out for the needle and thread.
Did you know?
It pays to verify your information. If you don't think so, simply ask a woman in Benton County who hung a sign on a neighbor's door warning people that the man who lived there was a sex offender. Two problems: first, it is illegal. Second, wrong house. There goes the neighbourhood.
Douching with Coke Not an Effective Form of Pregnancy Prevention — So says the Discovery Channel. Diet Rite, however, works great. (Found on Gorilla Mask)
Penis Enlargement Surgery a Waste of Time: Study — Critics say that "spam e-mails advertising penis enlargement surgery were inaccurate and gave men unrealistic expectations."
As you were.
The "H" gets added for emphasis
My favourite line:
I use Nigga. I point the "H" on it to add emphasis.
Creative minds have remixed the incident.
The dolls are selling on eBay.
A handmade 'Brokeback Mountain' doll set includes:
Dolls based on the Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhall characters, 2 horses, a campfire, a dog, a tent, a liquor bottle and a tree. The dolls come with a hand painted background set and are fully pose-able.
New Kid on the Block
The former city councillor made the announcement Monday in a news conference at a high-tech company located in the heart of his old riding of Kanata.
Munter, as readers may recall, was the media leak regarding the infamous Stephen Harper speech to a secret right-wing group in a Montreal hotel. The one that formed the basis of those drum pounding, fact twisting ads for the Her Majesty's Official Opposition. He is also an accomplished community activist.
Let's hope his opponents don't resort to the same tactics as last time.
Read story here.
Bourque ran a headline article today via TDH that spells out the promotion of the Gun Registry mastermind.
Moldy ran that story almost a week ago.
My good pal Bumf has long ago written off Bourque and I am starting to see why.
As you were.
Another Case of Bad Intelligence
Press Briefing by Scott McClellan.
Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank turned up on an MSNBC show to talk about the Cheney accidental hunting trip shooting wearing this costume. Download and watch the video (Windows Media .wmv file).
The Smoking Gun has the official Texas Parks and Wildlife Department report on the incident.
Jon Stewart summed it best yesterday when he said:
"Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a man during a quail hunt. Making 78-year-old Harry Whittington the first person shot by a sitting veep since Alexander Hamilton.
Hamilton, of course, (was) shot in a duel with Aaron Burr over issues of honor, integrity and political maneuvering.
Mistaken for a bird."
Happy Valentines Day
Please contact the participating White Castles near you to enjoy hostess seating, frequent slyders, candlelit dining and your own server.
The New Rambo
The plot is highlighted by a solider soon to be a hero to his country for correcting injustice. The hero is fighting an unwanted occupant in his country and battling to save his region from occupation. No, this isn't the new John Rambo film by Sylvester Stallone. It actually shows the United States as a bully.
The film - Valley of Wolves Iraq - that is taking Turkey by storm- having already broken Turkish box office records - involves Turkish gunmen who seek revenge against a tyrannical occupying army. The enemy is no oppressive third-world dictatorship. The commander's name is "Sam" - as in Uncle - and the opposing forces are Americans, who are being punished for offenses against Turkish as well as Iraqi pride and honour.
Sam William Marshall, played by Billy Zane, is portrayed as a sociopath, killing people without a second thought and claiming that he is doing God's will, a thinly veiled reference to statements by President George W. Bush about America's "crusade" for democracy in Iraq and the Middle East.
Indeed, while fictional, some of the movie is based on real events. The opening sequence portrays an incident that made headlines in 2003, when a group of Turkish special forces soldiers in Iraq was taken into custody by American marines. The Turks, mistaken for insurgents, were handcuffed and held with hoods over their heads. The incident angered many Turks.
Other scenes show ruthless marines killing Iraqis and soldiers mistreating inmates at Abu Ghraib prison. A Jewish-American doctor, played by Gary Busey, is shown as shipping inmates' organs to New York, London and Israel. All these, according to the screenwriter, Bahadir Ozdener, were inspired by real events.
The past few decades have seen the US military use the cinema as a propaganda tool to desensitize Americans to war, violence and killing. In this case, turn about is fair play. I am sure the Ann Coulter's of the world will have some intelligent comments on this film.
Monday, February 13, 2006
This Isn't Your Father's Catholicism
These Catholics actually get it and haved moved into the 20th century.
Hat tip and copyright secured from Feminurse.
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
The plot, in case you care, seems funny:
NASCAR stock car racing sensation Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) is a national hero because of his "win at all costs" approach. He and his loyal racing partner, childhood friend Cal Naughton Jr. (John C. Reilly), are a fearless duo -- "Thunder" and "Lightning" by their fans for their ability to finish so many races in the #1 and #2 positions, with Cal always in second place. When flamboyant French Formula One driver Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen) challenges "Thunder" and "Lightning" for the supremacy of NASCAR, Ricky Bobby must face his own demons and fight Girard for the right to be known as racing's top driver.
Cheney's got a gun
No Dead Eye Dick
A little tip for Lorne: Make sure you announce your arrival. You don't want any friendly fire.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
The Two Timer and Sloppy Seconds (UPDATE)
Carol and David will have a couple of things to talk about around the cabinet table.
Private Member's Motion 38th Parliament
M-265 - Mrs. Skelton (Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar)
That, in the opinion of the House, any Member of Parliament who wishes to join a governing party between general elections must sit as an independent Member of Parliament for 35 sitting days, upon which a by-election will be held in the Member of Parliament's riding and the electorate will decide if they will re-elect that Member under their new political banner.
UPDATE - Apparently getting into cabinet has caused Ms. Skelton to suffer from some amnesia.
Skelton had a more emotional response to Belinda Stronach last May when the high-profile Conservative crossed the floor and joined Prime Minister Paul Martin's Liberal cabinet.
MAY 17, 2005: MPs feel 'betrayed' by Stronach's defection "I will tell you honestly, I was sick to the stomach when I heard it," Skelton said then.
Now, "It's one of those matters that is debatable," Skelton said Thursday. "I thought about it many times. And there are benefits to both sides of the story."
Summary - Her principles are worth a nice office and a limo.
Garth Turner has some comments on his blog.
I am a democrat who believes everyone in the House of Commons, including the cabinet members who make up the government, should be elected. They should sit in Parliament as they were elected. If they decide to change parties, they should go and get re-elected.
It would be a great idea for Mr. Emerson to do that, and hopefully he will decide that’s the right course of action. Given his new high-profile and powerful position, one would expect voters would be impressed enough to elect him as a Conservative. But maybe not. That’s their choice.
UPDATE - Those wanting to visit Garth can see him in a broom closet in the basement of West Block.
Myron Thompson is getting even more chatty. Thompson, one of the original members of the Reform caucus, said the Emerson decision is not sitting well with him or his constituents.
Thompson said also wants to see legislation in place to prevent people from crossing the floor. When asked if Emerson should resign his seat and run in a byelection, Thompson said. "Without the legislation in place to force it, I wouldn't suggest that has to be the case. I would say if he did it it would be the honourable thing to do."
Even the UNELECTED good Senator (subscription required) from Montreal believes floor crossing is wrong. It isn't April Fools for another 2 months and already Fortier is trying to crack funnies.
Members of Parliament who bolt from their parties and cross the floor of the House of Commons should have to quit and face their voters in a byelection, says new Public Works Minister Michael Fortier.
Moreover, Mr. Fortier says his new cabinet colleague, David Emerson, is aware of his views. "I still believe that, and David Emerson knows that I believe that." Mr. Fortier did not, however, say if he told Mr. Emerson he should resign his seat and run again in a byelection.
Wait there is more:
In an interview this week, Mr. Fortier said he stands by comments he made in 2000 when three Quebec Conservatives crossed over to the Liberals.
"People who change parties right in the middle of a Parliament ... I find it inadmissible," Mr. Fortier told reporters in Quebec City at the time. "We should force them to face their voters in a byelection."
Mr. Fortier said this week he believes a lot of people share his view, although some accept crossing the floor as the lesser of the evils. Or the lesser of all evils - finding your way into cabinet by not wanting to face the electorate.
Wait-er there is MORE (subscription):
Michael Fortier may be Montreal's representative in the newly elected Conservative cabinet, but the Senate riding he will represent in Quebec doesn't include any part of the city in its boundaries.
The Quebec riding of Rougemont is where Fortier is slated to land. Except it isn't in Montreal and he has not filed the necessary paper work to adhere to the Constitution Act.
An arcane requirement in the Constitution Act requires Mr. Fortier to purchase land worth more than $4,000 in the riding, which is located south of Montreal and reaches to the Vermont-U.S. border. The rule applies only to Quebec.
Wait one last time for the sloppy seconds:
According to Deirdre McMurdy in the Ottawa Citizen (subscription again, bastards!):
Mr. Fortier had put his political ambitions on hold and was, according to Tories, a second choice for the controversial slot. The appointment to Senate and cabinet was first rejected by Montreal businessman and thwarted candidate Daniel Fournier, who is said to have longer-term political ambitions within the party.
Unlike some, the majority are not prepared to move pass this.
The Long War - not to be confused with Going Upriver - The Long War of John Kerry - is a propaganda term designed to echo "the Cold War," and the Pentagon intends to brainwash Americans into supporting a generation-long struggle that could lay the groundwork for an American hegemony in the 21st century.
The United States government, in order to ensure compliance, is developing a massive computer system that can collect large amounts of data and, by linking far-flung information from blogs and e-mail to government records and intelligence reports, search for patterns of terrorist activity.
The system - parts of which are operational, parts of which are still under development - is already credited with helping to foil some plots. It is the federal government's latest attempt to use broad data collection and powerful analysis in the fight against terrorism.
The core of this effort is a little-known system called ADVISE - Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight and Semantic Enhancement. ADVISE is a research and development program within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, part of its three-year-old Threat and Vulnerability, Testing and Assessment program. The program received nearly $50 million in federal funding this year.
A major part of ADVISE involves data mining - or "dataveillance," as some call it. It means sifting through data to look for patterns.
In non-science speak: Every time you visit a website, you leave a mark. Those marks will then be connected and, if necessary, followed by the government.
Read full story.
Oddly, aljazeera.com ran the story. Yes, I visit the site and now the Pentagon can know.
Must see TV
A gay minister and a Christian fundamentalist agree to invite each other into their homes and lives for a week in a same-sex marriage showdown. Pastor Dylan leaves his male partner behind in Vancouver when he travels to Calgary to stay with Craig and family.
Craig heads up a family values organization opposed to gays and lesbians marrying and while Craig and his wife treat Dylan with respect, their friends are openly hostile and homophobic towards Dylan. But the real eye opener comes when Craig visits Vancouver where he reveals a secret from his youth and we watch him struggle to reconcile his emotions with his convictions.
Did you enjoy it as much as me?
Craig Chandler needs a hug. He is an angry, delusional man. I particularly liked his line about being in the minority - as a White, Middle-Class, Christian. Be sure to bring some ice cream to Craig's pity party.
The Udder Side
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) the leading US animal rights campaign organization continues to push the envelope.
Declaring war on milk is a cause unlikely to win many converts. On the other hand, depicting drunk, young women pulling off their tops is more or less guaranteed to hold the momentary attention of close to 50 per cent of the planet.
That appears to be the logic behind the latest advertising campaign from. The ad may offend some, but the parody is sure priceless.
FYI - Yes that is Pete Sweaty - a.k.a. Alec Baldwin - doing the voice in the milk history video.
Milk Gone Wild - not to be confused with Girls Gone Wild.
Call in the army
The National Weather Service said 26.9 inches of snow had fallen in Central Park, the most for a single storm since record-keeping started in 1869. The old record was 26.4 inches in December 1947.
FYI - New York officials indicated that snow removal costs the city about $1 million per inch.
Once again, like on September 11, 2001, the folks in Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador are playing host to some international travellors. The travellors were diverted there due to airport closures in many major U.S. cities.
The storm rolled through Halifax on Sunday and is expected to visit the neighbouring provinces later before heading to the rock.
Ted Menzies - La Francophonie no longer?
Gone are the regional references for people clearly not near the region - i.e. Helena Guergis and the Vancouver 2010 and Pacific Gateway.
Gone is the reference for Steven Fletcher for Northern Ontario development.
Deepak Obhrai of Calgary won't be handling the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
Finally, Menzies will not be needing his earpiece as much.
No replacements were named.
Read full story.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Pepsi is teaming up with pop culture icon, David Hasselhoff aka The Hoff - check out his website, it is worth at least one laugh - for its latest summer campaign.
The Hoff, as he now calls himself, is best known for his role in Knight Rider and more recently directing, producing and starring in the hit TV series Baywatch. Since the 1990s, however, his face has been famous the world over - minus North America, the United Kingdom, South Amercia, ok just Germany, France, Japan and a few other Asian countries for his singing. Lately, the Hoff has been popping up in inboxes around the globe creating Hoff Hysteria.
Pepsi Australia marketing director, Tony Thomas said: “The Hoff embodies the ‘Dare For More’ attitude because he doesn’t take himself too seriously. The amazing thing about the Hoff phenomenon is it transcends all age groups.”
The Hoff joins stars such as Beyonce, Madonna, Delta Goodrem, Robbie Williams, Jennifer Hawkins and Sonny Bill Williams as an Australian Pepsi celebrity ambassador. The summer campaign launched in late December 2005.
MacDonald - is a former gym teacher, a St. Francis Xavier graduate and tourism minister - will officially be sworn in as premier later this month. He will become the youngest premier in Canada.
Mr. MacDonald won a second-ballot victory at the Halifax Metro Centre over former insurance executive Bill Black, a 54-year-old political neophyte and former CEO of Maritime Life. Mr. MacDonald received 1,263 votes to Mr. Black's 855. Former Finance Minsiter Neil LeBlanc, who finished third, was the kingmarker throwing his support behind MacDonald.
MacDonald will inherit a somewhat stable minority government from outgoing Premier John Hamm, who announced his retirement last fall after a decade in public life.
If MacDonald wanted to move Nova Scotia into the 20th century, he could allow Sunday shopping. It is time to get past the judo-Christian bent.
FYI - Hamm, a former doctor, is rumoured to go to Ottawa to head Stephen Harper's wait time reduction project.