Friday, January 26, 2007



There are so many jokes with the recent announcement from the Government of New Zealand that one hardly knows where to begin. The decision to honour sheep with a national holiday seems a tad odd. On February 15th the Kiwis will celebrate a new holiday - National Lamb Day to honour 60 million sheep.

Just in case the Government of Saskatchewan wants to add another holiday to the calendar, I am suggesting Pork Day. This holiday could build off the tremendously successful billboard campaign in the province during the late 1990s.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Call of the Wilde

Simon Jenkins in the December 20th edition of the Guardian begs the question to Conservatives - If you want a free society, then why not start by getting rid of counter-productive bans on drugs and prostitution?

I am sure many will say of the Ipswich murders that they show how right Britain was to crack down on hard drugs and prostitution. They will cry with Oscar Wilde, "I don't like principles: I prefer prejudices," unless a prejudice affects them personally (as it did him).

The article is timely - given the recent case in BC - and the argument just makes sense.

Friday, January 19, 2007


Legal Begal

A great article in today's Globe and Mail. Professor Alan Young outlines the reasons why prostitution should be legal. This policy change is long overdue in Canada for social and economic reasons. It is time to tax and regulate the world's oldest profession.

Young's conclusion is indefensable:

Sex-trade workers have had an enormous fall from grace in the past millennium, going from being sacred temple harlots to marginalized outcasts exposed to all manner of violence, abuse and ridicule. Even if you believe that all sex work is degrading or immoral, I cannot see how this can morally justify doing nothing about abduction and murder. With a shift in legal perspective and the removal of legal obstacles standing in the way of safe sex work, we may be able to save lives. In any moral school of thought, the sanctity of life trumps sexual morality.

The see no evil, hear no evil approach is not working - the similarities between the "war on drugs" is another classic example of this.


Warm Beer and Stale Policy

Alberta childcares are resticting intake due to staff shortages. Could this be further proof the Conservative's so called "Child Care Plan" is the glass half-empty.

I have long argued that there is nothing wrong with financially rewarding people for having children in an era of declining birthrates. Canada used to do it with the old Family Allowance program. Many parents did then what wise parents are doing now, invest the money for their child's future education. It is, however, pure non-sense to announce a program under the guise of child care when a single new space isn't created to allow children to receive said care.

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

The second part of the Conservative plan calls for $250 million a year to be set aside for investment in community child care. The money is meant to increase the availability of child care by offering tax credits for capital investments in child-care spaces. Harper predicted the plan would create 125,000 spaces over five year with the help of the private sector and non-profit organizations that would get a $10,000 tax credit for every space created.

Childcare activists (yes Bumf I am aware these people often have "liberal" agendas - heaven forbiden that people who look after kids care about nurture over numbers) and researchers are still awaiting the rush from the private and volunteer sector to take all those glorious Conservative tax benefits and convert them into actual spaces.

One of the biggest crimes in all this discussion is in fact the staff issue. Educational lobbyists often toss early childhood development practicioners around as the classic example of highly indebted students. The soon-to-be graduates are entering one of the lowest paying jobs in the country. Safeway clerks make more than most people who care for kids in homes and centres. The answer rests plainly in higher salaries for these staff.


Time Out

Time Inc., largest US magazine publisher, spent today telling hundreds of staffers their jobs were being eliminated - close to 300 in all.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Rescue Me

The best show on TV that you aren't watching. The show is quirky and intense. There are no excuses.

Plus, Denis Leary started the Leary Firefighters Foundation and has raised over $5 million for uniformed firefighters in New York and Massachusetts.


George the Gentleman

This fight between (6'3", 243-pound) Georges Laraque of Phoenix and (6'4", 263-pound) Raitis Ivanans of LA is not the best except for the fact that Laraque is miked up.

Here's what he has to say (calmly, mind you) to Ivanans as the two enforcers await the drop of the puck:

"You want to? Okay. We're up? Okay. Good luck then."



Gatorade AM

Ripped straight from author and gatorade guru - Darren Rovell.

Gatorade A.M. is supposed to help you "put back fluids and energy" you lose while you're asleep. I am a convert to Propel water but even a sucker like me has to draw the line. Nobody loses anything at night that can't be replaced by water.

There is no mention of it on the actual website.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


All Star Weekend

The hockey gods have spoken and there will be no Rory Fitzpatrick in the game. The email, internet and website campaign to elect the warm body to the National Hockey League All Star Game in Dallas later this month has failed. It was a nice gimmick and one felt sorry for Fitzpatrick over the course of the event.

He has been a healthy scratch in Vancouver several times already this year and barely clings to a NHL paycheque. He will get some time away from the rink over the break unless Fox News hires him to file reports from the game.

Two quick things. It is time to drop the one player per team rule. It is a slap in the face to the real all-stars. Two, it is time to move the game to after the season and put in a non-NHL location.

The real line-ups are in and it is time to compare choices - MP in parenthesis.


Roberto Luongo (x)
Miikka Kiprusoff (x)
Marty Turco (Chris Mason)

Scott Niedermayer (x)
Nicklas Lidstrom (x)
Philippe Boucher (x)
Dion Phaneuf (x)
Kimmo Timonen (x)
Lubomir Visnovsky (x)

Joe Thornton (x)
Jonathon Cheechoo (Daymond Langkow)
Joe Sakic (x)
Bill Guerin (Henrik Sedin)
Martin Havlat (x)
Patrick Marleau (x)
Rick Nash (Daniel Sedin)
Yanic Perreault (x)
Brian Rolston (x)
Teemu Selanne (x)
Ryan Smyth (Paul Kariya)
Henrik Zetterberg (x)

Ryan Miller (x)
Martin Brodeur (x)
Cristobal Huet (x)

Brian Campbell (x)
Sheldon Souray (x)
Jay Bouwmeester (x)
Zdeno Chara (x)
Tomas Kaberle (Andrei Markov)
Brian Rafalski (Dan Boyle)

Sidney Crosby (x)
Alexander Oveckin (x)
Daniel Briere (x)
Jason Blake (Jaromir Jagr)
Simon Gagne (Marc Savard)
Dany Heatley (x)
Marian Hossa (x)
Vincent Lecavalier (x)
Martin St. Louis (x)
Brendan Shanahan (x)
Eric Staal (Thomas Vanek)
Justin Williams (Rod Brind'Amour)

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Into Africa

The crisis in Africa is hitting new lows. The old news used to show Sally Struthers with children starving. Now, however, there are additional threats - terrorism. The region is vulnerable to remnant Islamists vowing guerrilla war, warlords seeking to re-create their fiefdoms, and competing clans.

The biggest problem right now is Somalia. Somalia is one of the world's worst countries. It is poor, ungovernable and lacks many basic infrastructure (roads and education, etc). The country is making its 14th attempt at central rule since 1991. The capital city of Mogadishu is now known as one of the worst capital cities in the world due to violence and general lawlessness.

Somalia's parliament declared on Saturday a three-month state of emergency amid fears of a return of clan violence after weeks of war ousted Islamists.

The United States has recently *strategically* bombed supposed al-Qaeda targets. The usual fallout is now coming - innocent lives taken and intelligence poorly dispatched.

Ethiopia , yes Ethiopia, has stepped up military efforts (aided by western countries) to ensure the region doesn’t fall too far or too fast. It is simply trying to stop the spread of undesirables.

This matter needs international attention - from the UN - but isn’t likely to receive it. Businesses print their own money, unemployment is not trackable and agriculture is the main industry. International governments should care since there is uranium there and largely unexploited reserves of natural gas and oil reserves. These resources need to further growth, not fall into the hands of people against regional prosperity and development.

Friday, January 12, 2007


A Women's Right

The bizarre and twisted tale of Melissa Hawach has taken another turn. Joseph Hawach, who is up on his own kidnapping charges in Canada for taking his own children, is believed to be talking to Interpol about international warrants that mean he cannot leave Lebanon for fear of arrest.

Joseph Hawach took Australian-born Hannah, 5, and Canadian-born Cedar, 3, from their mother, Melissa, in Sydney last July. In December she took them back with the help of two mercenaries who have since been arrested in Lebanon.

Hawach's lawyer - Tony Habib Tebchrany - said his client is willing to drop Lebanese child-abduction charges against his former wife and her helpers (Melissa is alleged to have hired some muscle and two of the reported four-man team of former soldiers who helped retrieve her children, Brian Corrigan from Sydney and David Pemberton from New Zealand, were arrested at Beirut airport shortly after the operation and now face up to three years' hard labour if convicted on child abduction charges)if she returned the children. A scenerio not likely to occur during this eon.

Mr Hawach is wanted by Interpol on charges of having abducted the children from their mother when he took them from Australia to his ancestral Lebanon last year and also stands accused of embezzlement and bank fraud in Canada, where he allegedly presided over the bankruptcy of a business set up with his former wife's family.

Mr Tebchrany said his client had broken no Lebanese law when he failed to return the two children to their mother after she allowed them to holiday with him in Sydney last year. He said that as the couple was originally married in a Maronite church in Sydney the marriage was subject to a distinctive Maronite canon law. Tebchrany also reinstated that Joseph Hawach is ready to drop all the cases against Melissa, and everyone involved with her, if the children are returned.

After he brought the children to Lebanon during last year's war with Israel, Mr Hawach had obtained a ruling from a Maronite church court that he was the legal guardian, the lawyer said. He said any previous court orders awarding custody to the mother had no force in Lebanon, where custody was normally awarded to father. Mr Tebchrany said Ms Hawach had made no attempt to pursue her case in the Lebanese courts before snatching her children.
Here is hoping that everything works out for Melissa.