Saturday, September 30, 2006


Run Forest Run

West Virgina High School Football star Paul McCoy literally ran into the record books. McCoy rushed for a national high school-record 661 yards and scored 10 touchdowns Friday. McCoy surpassed his recent impressive performance versus Shelby Valley (not Shelbyville).

McCoy, who had 25 carries in Matewan's 64-0 win over Burch, ran for 496 yards just on his touchdown runs, which covered 69, 20, 52, 56, 52, 20, 31, 84, 87 and 25 yards.
The National Federation of State High School Associations lists the national record as 619 yards, set by Ronney Jenkins of Oxnard, Calif., in 1995.

McCoy's 10 touchdowns would tie him with two others for the second most nationally. The unbelievable record is 12 set by Ken Pearson of Hugo, Colo., in 1930.

McCoy, who is averaging 364 yards per game, has 1,820 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns this season.

Me thinks he has a future.

Friday, September 29, 2006


Goose Gets Gandered

Good to see another Republican bite the dust in the United States. It was a little rich watching all those uptight, white Conservatives spew hatred at Bill Clinton.

Clinton never chaired a Committee on Happy Marriages or led a seminar on Sleeping with Your Partner 101. Florida Republican Congressman Mark Foley was part of the Republican leadership and the chairman of the House caucus on missing and exploited children. The same children he was sending sexually suggestive emails.

Here are a few examples: posted these instant message exchanges:

Maf54: You in your boxers, too?
Teen: Nope, just got home. I had a college interview that went late.
Maf54: Well, strip down and get relaxed. also cited this exchange:

Maf54: What ya wearing?
Teen: tshirt and shorts
Maf54: Love to slip them off of you.

A third example from

Maf54: Do I make you a little horny?
Teen: A little.
Maf54: Cool.

Go join all the other hypocrites who called for Clinton's head on moral grounds.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Back from the Dead

Quebec Premier Jean Charest's Liberal party is polling on par with the Parti Quebecois. This is nothing short of remarkable. Charest, left for dead by this writer earlier, has found a little wind and now must ensure that his federal friend Steve can pay his bills for next 12 months and things will be fine.

Sad to see, but Quebec keeps boarding the gravy train. Even sadder, the province no longer is the 2nd largest region in the country. It was official passed by BC and Alberta. Hopefully the pandering will soon end and economics will win the day.


Electronic dog house prevention??

It's maintenance free! Using a micro thermopile, The Remember Ring™ converts the heat from your hand into electricity, keeping the battery charged and microchip clock running perpetually. Just specify your anniversary date when you order, and we'll program your ring for you. Set it and forget it-until your anniversary!

So what does this ring do when it's anniversary time? It heats up and burns your finger of course! Love hurts they say….

24 hours before your special day, the Hot Spot™ on the interior surface of your Remember Ring™ will warm to 120º F for approximately 10 seconds, and continue to warm up every hour, on the hour, all day long!


Hockey Night at Magna

Welcome back NHL. Out with the old and in with the new.

Anyone interested in setting up a series of NHL predictions for the year can email them to me and I will post them this weekend along side mine.

Sal, that means you. BUMF? Phoff? Balzoff? Beeg? Moi? Flobee?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Blame Chavez

Decadence just got more expensive.

Starbucks is increasing the price on a cup of coffee. The reason given - to offset the cost of rising fuel. However, the company later stated it was part of the ongoing business evaluation. Likely, taking a page from author of the Undercover Economist - Tim Haford - who indicates that Starbucks simply repackages products as high-end (read Hot Chocolate combined with Coffee) and people flock for the perception of quality.

Starbucks announced last week it plans to raise prices of its lattes, cappuccinos, drip coffee and other drinks by five cents, or an average of 1.9 per cent. The increase, which goes into effect Oct. 3 at all company-operated stores in the U.S. and Canada, will mark the first time the company has boosted drink prices in two years. Starbucks also is increasing the price of its coffee beans by about 50 cents a pound, or an average of 3.9 per cent.



Baltimore Orioles outfielder and first baseman Jay Gibbons literally stung his wife. Gibbons fouled a ball straight back over the screen in the ninth inning of Baltimore's game against the Minnesota Twins on Sunday. Unfortunately, the ball lined into the rib cage of Gibbons' wife, Laura. Laura was shook up, but relatively unharmed.

The irony lies in the fact that Gibbons had earlier approached the Orioles' organization about the lack of safety in the seats behind home plate. Gibbons asked team officials to do something about making it safer to sit in the seats. He told the AP that the 20-foot screen just doesn't offer enough protection from hard-hit foul balls. He has been on this issue for the better part of the year.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Bump and Grind

Concord High School Administrators, in New Hampshire, are calling for an end to "overtly sexual" style of dancing at school dances. The controversy has divided the school. There are those who defend the students'right to dance however they want and those who believe the moves are just plain inappropriate.

Principal Gene Connolly is with the latter group. He said the school will cancel all remaining dances, including the upcoming homecoming dance, unless students step forward to help halt the "grinding.

"This style of dancing is wrong," Connolly told parents at a Parent-Teacher-Student Organization meeting Tuesday night. "If you were to see it, you would be equally offended."

Asked by parents to describe the dance, Connolly offered this: The girl leans forward and the boy puts his pelvis against her backside. Then, he thrusts.
"It's feigning a sex act," Connolly said.

But some students and parents don't see it that way. They say that like the jitterbug, Elvis and disco before it, grinding is just a sign of the times.

All this from the state where the motto is Live Free of Die.
Patrick Swayze would be spinning in his grave!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


So Long Bernie

Yesterday's flavour of the month is today's stale bread. To say that Lord lacked political insticts is the like saying you can stage a coup without support.


One Night In Bangkok

Quote of the Day from General Sondhi Boonyaratglin of Thailand:

"I am the one who decided to stage the coup. No one supported me."

Really. According to Webster's a coup is a sudden and decisive action in politics, esp. one resulting in a change of government illegally or by force. Hard to imagine this happening with no support.

What Sondhi didn't say is that he is a Muslim in a Buddhist-dominated country and is known to be close to Thailand's revered monarch - King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The coup, the country's first in 15 years, was launched late Tuesday while Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was in New York ahead of a scheduled address this week at the United Nations and is the country's 18th in their history.

Monday, September 18, 2006


Coopetition... the new buzz word being used the describe the courting between Ford and General Motors. Apparently these two dying brands will attempt to restart each other with a relationship of necessity.

GM has too many brands. Ford has too much crap on the lot. This ought to be a recipe for even greater failure than the two are capable of separate. I have stated on many occasions, and will do so again, never will a domestic car grace my driveway.

The Germans and the Japanese are head and shoulders above their competition.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Straight Shooter

Flames Defenseman Rhett Warrener welcomes Jeff Friesen and tells of playing in NHL purgatory - Washington.


Funny Money

From the unbelievable files - Part 1. Canadian Tire take note.

The United States government recently warned consumers and businesses that it is illegal to use alternative money known as "Liberty Dollar" coins, which organizers promote as a competitor to the almighty dollar.

"We don't want consumers to be fooled," U.S. Mint spokeswoman Becky Bailey says, noting U.S. Attorneys offices across the USA have noticed a marked increase in inquiries about the coins.

The coins' producers vowed to fight the government's decision.

Evansville, Indiana.-based National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act and the Internal Revenue Code, otherwise known as NORFED, has been making the Liberty Dollar coins for eight years and claims $20 million is in circulation. The group says the money, unlike official U.S. cash, has a hedge against inflation because it is made almost entirely of silver and is backed by stocks of silver and gold in a vault in Idaho.

Over sixty communities in the United States are currently issuing their own local currencies, creating self-reliance and freedom from the government's unprotected financial system. Ithaca NY, Tucson AZ and Berkeley CA are just some of the places that have their own currency. Only NORFED’s currency, however, is redeemable by the bearer on demand for the amount of silver stated on the certificate. It should be stated that most staff at these locations are unknowingly accepting the funny money.

The Silver Certificates fit in the cash register and function in the marketplace on a dollar-to-dollar basis with Federal Reserve Notes. Success in other localities has shown that local businesses will attract repeat and loyal customers who prefer to use a value-based currency.

NORFED gets Liberty Dollars into distribution through Redemption Centers (RCs). RCs may be your neighbour next door, the merchant at the shopping center, shopkeepers, factory and construction workers, managers, office workers, or your child's schoolteacher. RCs are designed to make money by exchanging fiat government money for gold and silver money.

It only takes $250 to become a Redemption Center. Out of the $250, a new RC gets back $100 Liberty Dollars, a sponsor gets $100 in FRNs for sponsoring a new RC and NORFED retains $50 for administration fees. A new RC is now upside-down for $150, but since an individual gets $100 for every RC they sponsor, sponsoring two friends and then you are up $50. Individuals profit by spreading the word about currency! Sponsor more people, make more money. The Amway of currency.

Redemption Centers can get 100 Silver Liberty’s for only $7.50 each. Every time an individual uses or exchanges a Silver Liberty at its Face Value of $10.00, they reclaim that discount of $2.50 and make 25% on the money. A shopkeeper or merchant can simply put some Silver Liberty’s in a cash register and use them in place of those dreaded $10 Federal Reserve Notes or offer them as change.

By creating a better currency than the Federal Reserve, NORFED is offering people a chance to show their preference for a currency that has independent legitimate value. The Liberty Dollar gives people a way to say they want superior money that is of, by and for the people. Money is a powerful force, and should always be owned by the people. That’s why NORFED’s slogan is “Help return America to value - one Liberty Dollar at a time.”

NORFED, is undeterred, it says will challenge the government, arguing it has never claimed Liberty Dollars were official money and that it has a right to offer an alternative.

"The designs and verbiage ... are original and are not copies of any U.S. Mint currency," NORFED Executive Director Michael Johnson said in a statement.

What is unclear is how many people or businesses are unknowingly holding Liberty Dollars, which cannot be exchanged for real money at banks. In a recent case in Buffalo, a man and his son are set to go on trial next month after they knowingly tried to buy beer at a Buffalo Sabres hockey game with Liberty Dollars.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Dumb and Dumber

Oregon Nurse Susan Kuhnhausen will one day, after the shock wears off, have a marvellous story to tell. It will be one of surprise and horror. Kuhnhausen returned home from work one day earlier this month, she encountered an intruder wielding a claw hammer. After a struggle, the 51-year-old nurse fended off her attacker - Edward Dalton Haffey - by strangling him to death with her bare hands.

Now, it turns out the intruder was hired to kill her by - her husband. Talk about a botched job. Haffey had worked as a custodian under Kuhnhausen at an adult video store, according an affidavit filed by the Multnomah County District Attorney's office.

The cherry on top of this case is:

Inside a backpack Haffey left at the scene was a day planner with "Call Mike, Get letter," scribbled on the week of September 4, the affidavit said. Michael Kuhnhausen's cell phone number was jotted on the inside of a folder, it said.

Friday, September 15, 2006


PS - Pass the Whine

My buddy Bumf has a virtual hug extended to the Pontiff. I, like many others, will take a pass. The Pope has stirred up a hornets' nest with his anti-Muslim comments. It is, however, his view on development that has one baffled.

Western societies are losing their souls to scientific rationality and frightening believers in the developing world who still fear God, Pope Benedict told an open-air mass in Germany on Sunday.

Benedict, on the second day of a visit to his native Bavaria, said that spreading the word of Jesus Christ was more important than all the emergency and development aid that rich churches like those in Germany gave to poor countries. . . "Social issues and the Gospel are inseparable," said the Pope.

"When we bring people only knowledge, ability, technical competence and tools, we bring them too little," he said, hammering away at his central concern that secularisation and materialism have replaced faith in Western thinking.

Apparently empowering people with knowledge and skills, does not lead them to a better life.

The Pope ended with his usual rhetoric:

The role of faith in fighting AIDS "by realistically facing its deeper causes," indirectly confirming the Church view that pre-marital abstinence and fidelity in marriage are the way to combat sexually transmitted diseases.


As long as those dirty Africans stay faithful, we can lick this thing. Or, we can at least leave the disease with homosexuals.

Good to see the "deeper causes" addressed.


Sutton Pierce

The name of the new Spears child. Not to be confused with Sutton Place, which is a fine hotel chain.


Mercer is back

Rick took the summer off and now he is back. Mercer is in fine form and is great to hear that the Mercer Report will hit the air again this fall. Here is glimpse of the genius:

Agenda for Historic Peace talks between Jack Layton and Taliban leader - room 202 Casino Du Lac Leamy, Quebec

8:00 am – Jack Layton opening comments and welcome to assembled media and Taliban representative.

8:05 am – Taliban representative walks to podium, poses for photographs with Mr. Layton.

8:06 am – Taliban representative cleaves Mr. Layton in the forehead with giant axe.

8:08 am – Peace talks end.

8:10 am – Olivia Chow says she is "encouraged by talks” – announces plan to run for leadership of NDP.

Too funny.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Lego + Star Wars = Happy Fathers

This sequel to the 3-million-plus-selling 2005 LEGO Star Wars game follows LEGO versions of all your favourite characters - Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo.

Game developer Traveller's Tales, made up of former workers at LEGO's disbanded interactive division, have "leveraged the retro appeal of LEGO building (and) LEGO humor ... that also supports the core Star Wars franchise," LEGO's Michael Boland says.

The new game has been sanitized for all ages — scenes such as Darth Vader chopping off Luke's hand have been altered — the game has a Three Stooges bent. Sort of a Larry, Chewy and Moe feel.


Seperated At Birth

Who is - Nicky Hilton and Marilyn Manson.


The Filing Cabinet

In 1956, the first hard drive was two refrigerators wide and stored the equivalent of one MP3 song. Today, the hard drive is found everywhere--from the PCs we use daily to MP3 players and memory keys so small you can toss them in your pocket and forget you're carrying around a hard drive.

50 years ago, however, it was a different story. In 1956, when the hard drive was first introduced on September 13, it required a humongous housing and 50 24-inch platters to store 1/2400 as much data as can be fit on today's largest capacity 1-inch hard drives.


Déjà Vu in Montreal

La Presse has the most chilling account of the day's events.

A truly sad day for the city, province and country.


Girls Gone Too Far

The company - Mantra - that produces the “Girls Gone Wild” tapes of young women baring their breasts and acting in other sexual situations pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal charges and agreed to pay fines totalling $2.1-million (U.S.). Owner Joe Francis will have to pony up some money to pay for his latest slip up. This is a drop in the bucket considering the annual sales are well over $40 million.

The case is believed to be the first to be filed under a federal law designed to prevent the sexual exploitation of children, the Justice Department said.

There are still a set of separate state charges in Florida alleging that two 17-year-old girls were videotaped by a “Girls Gone Wild” cameraman in sexual situations remain pending against Mantra and Francis.

Claire Hoffman at the LA Times has a great piece on what a piece of shit Joe Francis is. Read it and be truly disgusted.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


New Brunswick Election Update

While the Liberals (post-secondary education giveaways to those already in the system) and Conservatives (all tax credits, all the time) are busy trying to bribe New Brunswick residents with their own money, the NDP have quietly played their trump card - an Acadian national holiday on August 15th.

Somewhere Phoff reconsiders his next move.


Pulpit before Brains

Saskatchewan public institutions, always the bastion of progressive thought, are back in the news. Women are no longer able to get tubal ligations at Catholic-run St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Humboldt, Saskatchewan.

The sterilization procedure had been banned at the hospital since the end of June, following a decision by the hospital board. The ban was imposed because the hospital board felt it needed to follow the Catholic health ethics guide more closely. The Catholic Church is opposed to sterilizations.

The Government of Saskatchewan better put an end to this non-sense quick. Taxpayer’s dollars support public healthcare for all citizens, regardless of religious affliation. If Catholic's want to enforce their rules, they should pony up and build their own hospital. Until then, leave the dogma in the aisles.


Beating a Dead Horse

The Federal NDP has just completed their Bi-Annual Policy Convention in Quebec City and the 1,500 or so delegates have left for their various ridings with a false sense of being. The problem rests with the sense that if you root your ideas in the past, the future will come to you.

The Convention kicked off to the news that Paul Summerville, *star* candidate in St.Paul's (Toronto), had left the party and will support Bob Rae in his bid for the brass ring. His departure represents a serious lost opportunity for the party. It could have chosen the road less travelled, modernized and met Canadians half-way. Instead, however, the party prefers to lecture Canadians, preach moral superiority and expect voters to flock.

One gets the sense that Summerville ignored the *anti-market*, *anti-trade* nutbars in the party during the election and chalked it up to his youthful supporters. However, he got a glimpse of what life is like at the grown up table in the NDP and actually sees that progressive ideas are engulfed by ideology. It is a shame.

The Convention ended with a ringing endorsement to pull out of Afghanistan. Apparently a country should turn a blind eye to the brutal treatment of citizens in that country and the immediate threat of the Taliban. How compassionate of the NDP. Not shocking, remember this is the party that took a pass on World War II. Layton's notion that an Afghan mission should be replaced with a mission to Sudan just proves how much he has to learn on the foreign policy file. Someone explain to him that it safer to send troops to a country where the government wants support, than the reverse. Also, why Layton clings to notion that slapping a "blue helmet" on solidars adds purity to their mission is beyond me.

My good friend - BUMF - has an excellent post on the utter irrelevance of the federal NDP.

Paul Wells has chimed in with his own brilliant take on the 'dippers' delusional state.


UN Jumps The Shark

George Clooney to speak at the United Nations Security Council. Apparently the UN can't wait for the surprise ending in Oceans 13.


Sell out

Monopoly is getting a corporate makeover. Hasbro, the makers of the popular board game, claim this attempt will provide it with a modern twist.

Really. Then why is the Here & Now edition replace token terriers, wheelbarrows and race cars with a Toyota Prius, a New Balance shoe and a Motorola mobile handset?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Rudy loves the blow

What would the Cos say? Bossip is reporting that Keisha Knight-Pulliam aka Rudy Huxtable of the Cosby Show loves cocaine and has a huge problem.

Sources tell Bossip that Keisha came to Spelman College during her freshman year "round and plumpy" and not only used cocaine for the high, but to lose weight as well. “Cocaine was the drug of choice to lose weight for the elite group of girls at Spelman” says another source to Bossip. Sources say Keisha still does coke but her habit is “managed and covered up pretty well.” It seems no child star from the Different Strokes and Cosby Show days made it squeaky clean from the child star syndrome.

Courtesy of D-Listed.


Permanent Survivor

Charles Wang and Garth Snow have decided that goaltender Rick DiPietro will never leave the island. In fact, DiPietro likely has a clause to take over in year 10 as coach.

The New York Islanders are set to announce that they have signed DiPietro to a 15-year, $67.5 million contract. DiPietro's contract is in line with the large, wasteful contract that Alexi Yashin was awarded.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


You see my movie, yes?

The Toronto International Film Festival kicked off on Thursday and the city is buzzing with stars. Boret looks like it could be a must see repeat movie for the fall.

Check out the Ali G wannabe in the photo.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


The Bear Necessity

The Royal Canadian Mint is looking for names for polar bear on the "toonie."

I would have compromised and went with PHOFF.


Minus the Sixth Sense

I see dead people... in the bottom of my Budweiser.

Haley Joe Osment busted by cops for a glug, glug and vroom, vroom.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


No P is their Pool

Pool crashing is the new thing in Vegas. Why settle for a dumpy, concrete pool when you can go uber-deluxe on the Strip.

The Holy Grail for Strip pool crashers is Mandalay Bay. The casino's 11-acre lagoon includes a wave pool, a river and a topless section. The area is walled off, and entrances are monitored by attendants who run key cards under a scanner.

Having stayed 3 stars hotels in Vegas and appreciated the other fine hotels pools, I can see the appeal of this. It is called trading up and it is common in many aspects of life.


Twisted Logic

Canadian soldiers are fighting a US created war - therefore they are terrorists. I must has dosed off in early algebra and missed the lesson where 1 plus 1 equalled an 8 track player. The NDP should add math to their endangered species list. Better yet, somebody should hand Jack and the federal NDP the keys to a Caterpillar, they have dug themselves a rather large hole.

It was refreshing to hear Peter MacKay on the National last night talking about the Afghan mission. Apparently, you can not claim to be against the "war" and support the troops. They are a pair- like Walker and Texas Ranger. Peter must have slipped into the NDP's logic lessons.

If I have to hear one more rationalization begin with "support the troops", I am going to vomit. Supporting the troops is an apple pie issue. Everyone supports the troops (spare the odd loon on the left). One can support the soldiers and question the mission. One can even be openly critical of the mission and still back the troops. Soldiers are not a political shield. No amount of Republican or Conservative rhetoric will change this. There is no poll done amongst military members asking them to select their next mission. They serve at the mercy of their political masters. I can disagree with Conservative government policy on many fronts and still support those in charge of enacting the policy.


Road Trip

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad intends to travel to New York City to speak at the United Nations on Sept. 19. That day sound familiar? It should. It is the same day as US President George Bush is set to speak at the UN and a day before Hugo Chavez. As Jay-Z would say, the joint will be jumpin'.

FYI - Ahmadinejad and Chavez will fly from Havana where they will see an ailing Castro.

The New Three Amigos!


Campus Clubs

Here is a hunch with the flurry of activity that has settled into Canadian college and university campuses that certain club activity will be paid close attention. International students are going to be under closer examination, but that picked up after 09/11.

The new push will be on ethnic, cultural and religious clubs. This may not be right nor may it be legal, however, I bet that CSIS will be spending more time at Humber, Carleton, Concordia and Ryerson than they ever had before. Institutions and student governments are going to be asked some tough questions about the clubs they recognize and the activities of these groups.

This is just a hunch.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Smoke and Mirrors

The Universal Child Care Benefit is a new form of direct financial assistance that provides parents with resources to support the child care choices that help them balance work and family as they see fit. The Universal Child Care Benefit is paid to parents in monthly instalments of $100 per month per child under the age of six.

For some parents, this might mean using the money to pay part of their current child care fees. A parent who stays at home may want to use it on a preschool program or for occasional care by a friend or neighbour. The benefit may also be used to purchase learning materials that parents might not be able to buy for their children otherwise.

Parents may even wish to deposit all or part of their benefit into a Registered Education Savings Plan.

Funny, I don't recall that part being mentioned in the last election. The UCCB was pitched as childcare choice for parents. The Conservatives did a great job, using their push for universality, of throwing money at the middle-class through the tax system.

Also, there are persistent problems getting money into the hands of those who will benefit from the UCCB the most - higher income individuals. Parents of almost 100,000 children had simply not applied for the benefit and would not get it until they did. These parents are from wealthier, one-income families and could actually retain more of the $1,200 annual allowance than lower income, single parents because of the way it is taxed (it applies to the lower income of a two-parent family). The Caledon Institute has an excellent report on this.


No Judd Nelson

How do you like your morning coffee? Crisp? Andre Picard - one of the country's finest journalists - in today's Globe uncovers the misconception many parents have about the sugar content of breakfast cereals.

But many popular breakfast cereals contain four to six teaspoons of sugar a serving, as much or more sugar as in gooey chocolate bars, according to research commissioned by The Globe and Mail and CTV News.

That data reveal that:

A bowl of Post Sugar-Crisp contains as much sugar as a Mr. Big bar;

A typical serving of Cocoa Puffs is the equivalent of downing a 50-gram bag of Hershey's Kisses;

Starting the day with a serving of Corn Pops, Honeycomb or Lucky Charms is about the same as gobbling a Kit Kat;

Full marks to Don Blair, a spokesman for Kraft Canada Inc.(the maker of the popular cereals Sugar-Crisp and Alpha-Bits) for attempting to stand and face the findings. Kraft has a right to sell their product, the same as parents have a right to better nutritional information. Blair said the company "believes in offering consumers choice, which include cereal varieties that are low in fat and sugar." He noted that Sugar-Crisp, the cereal with the highest sugar content in the Globe/CTV research, is low in fat and a source of five essential nutrients.

Mr. Blair also noted that the recommended serving size of Sugar-Crisps is 30 grams. Since there is no standard serving size for cereal, The Globe and Mail and CTV asked a number of children to pour themselves a serving, and the average was more than 50 grams. Also, children commonly eat more than one bowl of cereal.


Soft Paternalism

If, Bernard Lord is re-elected in New Brunswick he is promising a tax credit for sports, recreation and cultural activities (the addition of cultural events is likely a preview of things to come from the federal government.) As my colleague Andrew Potter pointed out on his Maclean's blog, the whole notion of tax credits for physical activity is classic Tory double speak:

The tax credit embodies everything conservatives supposedly hate about government. It is government-knows-best micro-social engineering of the worst sort. It chooses amongst conceptions of the good and uses the tax system to force people into compliance. What’s worse, kids who can’t kick a ball or kids who can’t carry a tune? Is either of these a matter for the government?

Even if we accept that the government should be encouraging child fitness, this policy is not neutral with respect to delivery. Why should parents get $500 for ditching Sophie and Maxime three days a week at the pool, while parents who take their kids canoeing or for daily walks get squat?

Which is to note that the entire force of this credit is diametrically opposed to the other child benefit, the $1200 in cash money the Tories are giving to parents for every child under 6. The idea behind that credit was: give the money to the parents, they know best.

The whole notion of tax credits to encourage behaviour is utterly senseless and a complete waste of public money.


Wacko Jacko

The federal leader of New Democratic Party is certainly attempting to win friends (murders) and influence people (terrorists). The Canadian military should stand firm and commit to rebuilding Afghanistan. This is not the time to turn tail and run.

There is also no reason to call the Taliban to the table for peace talks. No rational government negotiates with splinter, terrorist groups. The Taliban has been a black mark on Afghan history with their deplorable treatment of women, children and other religious individuals. Even the NDP knows better than to legitimize a gang of thugs, murders and rapists.

Jack Layton has officially jumped the shark. The federal New Democrats have officially hit "who cares status."

Monday, September 04, 2006


Puff, puff and away

Smoker's International Airways (SIA) is not your average business venture. The carrier, expected to begin luxury service with only business and first-class seats early next year, plans daily flights between Düsseldorf and Tokyo. The 12 -hour journey will not be faint of heart or those concerned about their lungs. In a throwback to the 1970's (should satisfy Margaret Wente), there will be smoking allowed and encouraged on the airline.

The rationale for the airline (according to the founder) is simply hilarious:

Air travel used to be a luxury experience. Today the prices are exploding, and the service is going down to zilch. We want to bring back the joy of flying.

Considering the amount of money I put on the table for the ticket, I don't understand why somebody should be able to tell me I can't do what I like.

Many people simply don't travel long distances anymore because they can't smoke. That has to be why they invented videoconferencing.

Far be it from me to challenge the owner's business model. The market will decide whether this venture is a success or a failure. I would assume recruiting workers into the smoke bowl will be interesting.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


Clinton in 2012?

Word is starting to leak that Hilary, although she definitely has front runner status, is prepared to lead the Democrats in the Senate instead of into the White House.

This would be a wise move. Although I like Clinton(s) and think she would make a fine President, she is likely to galvanize the religious right and force an even more rigid Republican to secure the 2008 nomination.

She could also score great points by spreading her war chest across the country to assist the Democrats in their quest to take back the Senate.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Where is the Six Pack??

Men who look like Kenny Rogers. Of course, this is all pre-plastic surgery.


Porn is the new black

Veteran rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen has written and recorded two songs for the upcoming skin flick Sacred Sin, saying its director is "like a Spielberg to me."

According to Van Halen:

"I'm working with a friend--very simple," he said. "I like his work. Michael Ninn is like Spielberg to me: the imagery, the way he makes things look, just sensual," he said.

Ninn apparently knows how to make the pizza delivery man or plumber look artistic.

In other porn news, porn was news on the news.

Sweden's state broadcaster SVT faced ridicule earlier this week for mistakenly showing a porn movie in the background of a news broadcast over the weekend. Damn, if only Peter Mansbridge had such props he would be God.

Viewers of a 5-minute news update at midnight Saturday could see explicit scenes from a Czech porn movie on a TV screen behind news anchor Peter Dahlgren. The monitor -- one of many on the wall of a control room visible behind the studio -- normally shows other news channels during broadcasts. Pay close attention to the bottom left.

But staffers who earlier in the evening had watched a sports event on cable channel Canal Plus -- which often shows X-rated films after midnight -- had forgotten to switch it back, said news director Per Yng.


Ultimate Taxation without Representation

The disturbing trend to off-load tax onto to visiting citizens is hitting new lows around the world. Travelers already pay heavy taxes for everything from hotel rooms to car rentals. Want to rent a car from most major airports, there is a 10-12 percent "convenience fee." Some destinations also charge per-person departure taxes that catch tourists as they leave airports. So long, watch your wallet.

The next wave of "taxes" came from DMF's (Destination Marketing Fees). These DMF's are popping up all over Canada and the United States. These fees are usually 2-4 percent and are now added onto most hotel bills on top of all other taxes. The fees are simply a cash grab in the majority of cases and a prime example "monkey see, monkey do." Toronto was one the first to institute it and soon it was ok for Ottawa to follow suit.

Now, it appears that both the US government and residents in some states are prepared to take these fees / taxes to a new level. The most recent announcement by the US Department of Agriculture that is will begin charging an entry fee for $5 per air passenger to $488 for a maritime vessel, with trucks paying $5.25 and railways $7.50 per car. The cash raised will fund an expanded agriculture inspection program to screen air travellers and commercial rail, truck, ship and plane deliveries for biohazards - read tax grab against a body of individuals who can't directly vote on the measure. The initiative, similar to the US softwood deal, will end up hurting US business (directly and indirectly).

The new lowest of the low, however, comes from America's forgotten state. Alaska voters sent tourists a nasty message last week - Show me the money. The ballot measure, which passed with 52% of the vote and takes effect in 90 days, calls for each tourist arriving via cruise to pay a $50 head tax - apologies to follow in about 40 years.

There are also a series of taxes that could cost cruise visitors even more if other lines pass the levies on to customers. Among them: a 33% tax on casino profits while ships are in Alaska and a corporate tax. The measure calls for revenue to go to port and harbour facilities, to enhance the safety and efficiency of interstate commerce, and for ships' compliance with new environmental regulations. As one voter put it $50 is only fair to compensate for the burden the cruise industry places on Alaska. It must be burden to actually have people visit, buy goods and use services in a state. Maybe some of the citizens should consult facts before they are in line for an unemployment cheque.


The cruise industry spent $994 million in the state of Alaska in 2005, a 30 percent increase over the previous year. This spending supported nearly 21,400 jobs, which paid $792 million in wages and salaries, according to an annual economic impact study by Business Research and Economic Advisors (BREA).

Alaska is the premiere cruise destination market in the United States. Due to its northern geographical location, the state is a seasonal destination from late May through September. It received more than 3.2 million cruise passenger visits* – approximately three-fourths of all port-of-call visits at U.S. ports in 2005 and a 12 percent increase over 2004. Alaska’s homeporting operations generated 163,500 passenger embarkations on turnaround cruises between Alaska ports and Vancouver, Canada.

Cruise lines maintain significant tour operations in Alaska and employed more than 2,000 full- and part-time employees during 2005. During the peak cruise season, lines employed more than 3,000 workers and averaged about 2,000 full-time equivalent employees. Alaska ranked fourth in the United States, after Florida, California and New York, at $994 million in direct cruise industry spending. Tourism-related businesses such as tour operators, airlines, hotels, restaurants and ground transportation providers received approximately $730 million, slightly more than 80 percent of the industry’s direct expenditures in Alaska. Another $45 million was spent with food processors, construction firms, employment agencies, trucking and utility companies.

Americans are so pre-occupied with homeland security and the blaming of other countries for the potential threats, that most can't process a rationale thought on the matter. Security is a legitimate concern, however, the cost should be borne by those who are being secured full-time, not from Luke the Drifter.