A great man once said, "Politics is inherently stupid." That great man was me.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Iranians Behind Iraq Insurgency; Tell Me Something I Don't Know


WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2006 — U.S. officials say they have found smoking-gun evidence of Iranian support for terrorists in Iraq: brand-new weapons fresh from Iranian factories. According to a senior defense official, coalition forces have recently seized Iranian-made weapons and munitions that bear manufacturing dates in 2006.

This suggests, say the sources, that the material is going directly from Iranian factories to Shia militias, rather than taking a roundabout path through the black market. "There is no way this could be done without (Iranian) government approval," says a senior official.

ranian-made munitions found in Iraq include advanced IEDs designed to pierce armor and anti-tank weapons. U.S. intelligence believes the weapons have been supplied to Iraq's growing Shia militias from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which is also believed to be training Iraqi militia fighters in Iran.

Evidence is mounting, too, that the most powerful militia in Iraq, Moktada al-Sadr's Mahdi army, is receiving training support from the Iranian-backed terrorists of Hezbollah.

Two senior U.S. defense officials confirmed to ABC News earlier reports that fighters from the Mahdi army have traveled to Lebanon to receive training from Hezbollah.

While the New York Times reported that as many as 2,000 Iraqi militia fighters had received training in Lebanon, one of the senior officials said he believed the number was "closer to 1,000." Officials say a much smaller number of Hezbollah fighters have also traveled through Syria and into Iraq to provide training.

U.S. intelligence officials believe the number of Al-Sadr's Mahdi army now includes 40,000 fighters, making it an especially formidable force.



Just in case you were wondering:



Iran is using the insurgency to whittle away at the US in Iraq? No, really?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

In His Ever Immortal Words...



"We shall not flag nor fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France and on the seas and oceans; we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on the hills. We shall never surrender and even if, which I do not for the moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, will carry on the struggle until in God's good time the New World with all its power and might, sets forth to the liberation and rescue of the Old."


A message to Khurshid Kasuri...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Appalling Myth of "Hitler's Pope"

With great respect to my esteemed colleague (whose blog I rather enjoy), I must express my disagreement. The following is a critique of a fellow student's paper I wrote last year during my "Holocaust in Modern Perspective" seminar course. The critique debunks much of the "Hitler's Pope" myth. For your reading enjoyment, I have presented it here:



This critique is of (Student’s Name)’s paper, “The Silence of Pope Pius XII During the Holocaust.” The five main questions that will be addressed in this critique are:

· Is there a valid central thesis?

· Is the thesis clearly proven?

· Can the person making the presentation cite sources?

· Does the presentation contain sufficient detail or can the presenter give more detail when asked?

· Does the presentation have unity, order and clarity?

The first question addresses whether or not the paper has a valid central thesis. When reading the paper, I generally understood the points (Student’s Name) was trying to make: that the he feels Pope Pius XII did not do enough to help Europe’s Jews during the Holocaust and that this issue is indeed a very controversial one. However, while his arguments were never in doubt, the paper could likely have benefited from a direct thesis statement of these two positions. He does directly say in his introduction what his paper entails, but at the same time there is no direct statement of the position he takes. I think that this could have made what is quite evidently a strong paper even stronger in its arguments. In the end, there is still no doubt as to what his thesis is.

The second question is whether or not the paper clearly proves its thesis. He has done a good job of providing supporting evidence for his thesis. There are a few areas of his paper that could benefit from a little more details, however. For example, if he listed the points made by Rabbi David G. Dalin in regard to John Cornwell’s book “Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII” and then attempted to refute them individually, he could provide an even stronger case for his thesis. I feel that trying to portray all sides of the debate on Pius XII without definitively stating his thesis makes it harder for him to make his point. In the end, it seems that he attempts to both defend and condemn Pius XII despite the seemingly clear position that he takes; that is that Pius XII could have done far more for the Jews during the Holocaust. This is understandable, as this is a very controversial topic and there is no definitive consensus among historians. The benefit of this is that (Student’s Name) does a very good job explaining the different positions that the scholars take in regards to Pius XII’s actions during the Second World War. This makes for a very informative paper.

I must bring up two points of information in regards to some of the statements made in (Student’s Name)’s paper. The first is that on July 23rd, 2001, the chairman of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC) disbanded the International Catholic-Jewish Historical Commission which examined the role of Pius XII and the church during the Holocaust[1]. (Student’s Name) points out that the Vatican has denied the commission access to the further documents that it had requested. After providing a detailed list of answers to the 47 questions proposed by the committee, the Vatican has since released more documents on these matters in 2002, 2003 and 2005[2].

The second point of information deals with the church’s response to the anti-Semitic measures passed by Vichy France. He quite correctly mentions that Pius XII’s critics claim there was no objection to these measures. However, Msgr. Valerio Valeri, the papal nuncio and official voice of the Pope in France specifically condemned the measures. When told by Petain that church officials had supported such measures, he checked with Cardinal Maglione. Maglione looked into the matter and indeed confirmed that nothing said in the meeting with Petain could be interpreted as support for anti-Semitic measures. Msgr. Valeri then reiterated the church’s protest of the measures[3].

The final concern I have deals with (Student’s Name)’s statement that one of the easiest things to criticize Pius XII for was that during the round up of Italian Jews during November of 1943 the Pope displayed “inaction.” While going over the paper, I checked the web-site he provided as a guide to Pius XII’s actions during the Second World War, and it states that Pius XII was told of this beforehand and personally gave the orders that resulted in 477 Jews being hidden inside the Vatican and another 4,238 being hidden in monasteries and convents throughout Rome[4]. Unfortunately, this does weaken an otherwise quite strong body of support for his thesis.

In regards to the citing of sources, (Student’s Name) does an excellent job. In order to support his thesis, he has provided a solid bedrock of sources from a variety of backgrounds. In particular he has done well in providing perspectives on this controversial subject from both gentile and Jewish perspectives. His referencing of both Saul Friedlander and Sister Marchione is clear evidence that he has taken the time to ensure that a myriad of views on the subject were presented. Especially commendable is his citing of both Jewish detractors and supporters of Pius XII, as the Holocaust is of course undeniably a predominantly Jewish event and Jewish insight into this controversy is an important aspect of the debate. Again, he has done an excellent job citing his sources.

As to whether (Student’s Name) provides sufficient detail in his paper or not, I feel that he generally does. This is a topic that is not easily compressed into a short research paper, and (Student’s Name) has done his best in attempting to cover as much of the background material and major controversies of this issue as possible. The only issue I have is that, as noted, he did not specifically focus on Pius’ actions during the Second World War. Although he has provided a link to a web-site that contains this information, I feel that this information is critical to examining the role of the church and Pius XII during the war. While I do recognize that for the sake of a concise paper not all of the details that one would like to see can be included, I feel that this information is critical to the topic, and for the sake of one or two pages more, should be included. Again, this information would make an already strong paper even stronger in the presentation of its thesis.

The final question concerns whether or not the paper has unity, order and clarity. (Student’s Name) has written an excellent paper that is unified, ordered and certainly clear. He lists the topics that his paper entails in its introduction and then discusses them, one by one. Each section has a clearly marked title which indicates to the reader the topic that it will discuss. In his conclusion he clearly and concisely summarizes the main points discussed in the paper. Overall, this is a well written paper that clearly and strongly provides support for its thesis.


Bibliography

Web Sites

Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust [online encyclopedia article]. Available from http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/pius.html. Internet: accessed 23 February 2006.

The Committee That Couldn’t Shoot Straight [essay on-line]. Available from
http://www.ewtn.com/library/issues/cmmssP12.htm. Internet: accessed 23 February 2006


[1] The Committee That Couldn’t Shoot Straight [essay on-line]; available from http://www.ewtn.com/library/issues/cmmssP12.htm; Internet: accessed 23 February 2006.

[2] The Committee That Couldn’t Shoot Straight [essay on-line]; available from http://www.ewtn.com/library/issues/cmmssP12.htm; Internet: accessed 23 February 2006.

[3] The Committee That Couldn’t Shoot Straight [essay on-line]. available from http://www.ewtn.com/library/issues/cmmssP12.htm. Internet: accessed 23 February 2006.

[4] Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust [online encyclopedia article]; available from http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/pius.html; Internet: accessed 23 February 2006.


Even though the student's job in the paper was to criticize Pacelli for "inaction" during the war, his research forced him to take the opposite route: he ended up praising Pacelli for his courageous efforts to save Jews during the war.

The entire "Hitler's Pope" myth is based upon Rolf Hochhuth's 1963 play The Deputy. Hochhuth was an anti-Catholic and his play was a work of fiction; nonetheless it has become entrenched as truth in many circles.

As for John Cornwell, most historians (the one's worth their salt) have disparaged Cornwell's work as absolute rubbish at best. It is at the very least unscholarly, just as Daniel Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners is.

For more information on the myth of "Hitler's Pope," please visit Sir Martin Gilbert's take on John Cornwell and the "Hitler's Pope" myth. Gilbert is most famous as Sir Winston Churchill's official biographer.

Higher Education

GETTYSBURG, Pa. - A woman who admitted smoking marijuana daily with her 13-year-old son to reward him for completing his homework was sentenced to three months in prison.


Indeed.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

HDTV - A Threat to Canada

Just when you thought the cultural elites had finished telling you what was good for you and what wasn't, along come these two yahoos:


Bart Beaty and Rebecca Sullivan argue that while HDTV is offered as part of an expanded choice for consumers, the selection of programming using digital over analog technologies is almost exclusively American.

"If you were to ask most Canadians what's wrong with Canadian TV, they wouldn't say 'image quality,' " said Beaty, co-author with Sullivan of the newly published book Canadian Television Today, in a statement Thursday.

The two authors argue in their book that "the only incentive for [Canadian] broadcasters to make the transition is competition — or, more like co-operation or even collusion — with the United States." *



Oh no! Not co-operation...or even worse, the clarion word for dealing with the enemy - collusion - with the Yanks of all people! That would mean we'd lose our cultural sovereignty! Who'd remember such great Canadian shows like...uh...um...uh...say, did you catch "Deal Or No Deal?" last night?

These two bozos need to realize that we don't have a Canadian television industry outside of useless shows sponsored by the CBC. The only Canadian television I watch is the news, that's it. The last great Canadian-produced show was Due South, and even that had its irritating moments.

They're both right though - the biggest problem facing Canadian Television isn't image quality - it's the absolutely crappy content being forced at us by these self-appointed cultural elites. God save us from the CBC movie of the week!

-EDIT- As a reader has pointed out, I am remiss in not mentioning Corner Gas. That show is pretty damn good.

Ding Dong, Your Irrelevancy Is Here!

After reading this and this, I thought I'd speak up (again) about Justin Trudeau. And all I'll say is this:

He spoke at my university a while back. I felt dirty for the rest of the day just being there.

The Liberals are just dying for their righteous white knight (sorry, we're multi-cultural..."technicolor knight") to ride on in and route the big bad Conservatives. I can hear the moans of the Liberal mind at night: "If only Trudeau had been running against Harper instead of Martin! If Only!"

Why, we could have a big neo-marxist "Trudeau Diversity Parade"tm down Yonge street and all the un-liberated Conservative women could be shorn and re-educated! Then, the men could be berated for being the neanderthals that they are and could be sent to a "sensitivity training" camp where they could be taught to think in the proper way - a new, taxpayer-funded, national program of course. Then we could spend all our time handing out flowers and making protest signs instead of going off to fight in wars for democracy. Where is Afghanistan, anyways?

---

Harper would have sent Justin packing with his political diapers, kids. Get used to it Liberals - Trudeaupia is dead (thank God) and he's not coming back.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

AIDS, and an Update.


Sorry for the slow posting as of late, ladies and gents, but it's been a busy few weeks for Danté and I. Here's a short one to tide you over 'til we get back to regularly providing you with mirthful wisdom and sharp witticisms.*


VATICAN CITY (AFP) - The Vatican "health ministry" has completed a report on condoms requested by Pope Benedict XVI and handed it over to doctrinal authorities, a top cardinal said.

Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan of Mexico, head of the Pontifical Council for Health, said the 100-page document gathers all of the Roman Catholic Church's positions on the subject, from the most liberal to the most conservative.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will study the document and convey its opinion to the pope to help him make a final decision on whether to maintain or modify the Church's absolute ban on using condoms.

The Vatican is opposed to all forms of contraception besides abstinence -- total or temporary -- and rejects condom use even to prevent the spread of diseases such as HIV-AIDS.

Some prelates argue that condom use could be condoned in certain specific cases such as for sex between a married couple in which one partner has been contaminated with the HIV virus through a blood transfusion.

Cardinal Barragan announced in April that Benedict had requested "a study on the specific problem of the use of the condom by people contaminated with AIDS and those suffering from an infectious disease."

At a news conference on Tuesday, Barragan presented the program of a three-day international conference on "pastoral aspects of treating infectious diseases" opening Thursday at the Vatican.



I'm not going to rush to the defense of the Vatican's position on prophylactic usage, although I would like to say that I fully understand the reasoning behind it. The Church holds that abstinence is the only moral method of contraception and fully disapproves of all pre-marital sex. If the Church were to relax its rules on condom usage (okay in one situation, but not in the next) Its vacillation would result in confusion and a lack of understanding regarding Its position on abstinence and sexual morality. If the Church is permissive towards condom usage, then it is tacitly acknowledging that it must also be permissive of pre-marital sex. It doesn't matter if that isn't the Church's intention, nor does it matter that that reasoning is on shaky ground; It is the message that many people will come away with. As pre-marital chastity is considered a tenet of the Church, this is not an issue that it can afford to be seen wavering on.

It is indeed true that increased, proper condom usage prevents unwanted pregnancies, STI's and reduces abortions. The article above also postulates whether condom use could be condoned for married couples wishing to prevent the spread of HIV from one partner to another. Perhaps this is one situation in which the Church could change Its position without losing moral clarity on the issue of pre-marital sex, but I cannot speculate as to how the Church's position on marriage and procreation might affect any decision made; Personally, I'd prefer to see the Church leadership okay the usage of prophylactics in such cases.

I'd like to get down to a point i really wanted to discuss here, and that is the continual unfounded blame laid at the Church's feet for the AIDS crisis in Africa. The reasoning goes something like this:


"The Catholic Church prohibits condom usage and as a result African Christians abstain from using them for fear of facing eternal punishment. This results in sexual partners passing HIV to each other unchecked, contributing to the AIDS crisis in Africa".

This argument is patently ridiculous, and even the most torpid dullard should be able to spot the gaping hole in it:

The Catholic Church is against condom usage. The Catholic Church is also against pre-marital and adulterous sexual relations. If these people are not concerned about the Church's position on pre-marital sex, what makes anyone think they'll be fretting over what the Church has to say about condoms?


*Okay, maybe not either of those but at least you can leave here saying you learned something.
No?
Darn!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Absolute Rubbish

What a crock:

This is Mimi, the first cat to give birth to puppies, her owner claims.

Brazilian Cassia Aparecida de Souza, 18, says three of the cat’s six offspring, which were born three months after Mimi mated with a neighbour’s dog, have canine traits.


It's physiologically impossible for a cat to sexually reproduce with a dog. One of the defining characteristics of a species is the inability to mate with others outside of that species.

The girl is either lying or the kittens have a mutation that makes them look canine-like.



Either way, that cat did not mate with a dog.

H/T Drudge

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Rona, Who Told Lies, And Was Burned (By the Opposition)

At Home in Hespler took by the horns a noble poetic challenge, and inspired me in my own right to polish my amphibrach. Here, dear readers, is the result. Voilá!:


"There once was a woman named Rona,
Who loved all the flora and fauna
She had time for her hair,
But was full of hot air,
So our planet turned into a sauna."

I'm here all week folks.

(Poor Rona has to put up with incessant yammering from diehard Kyoto adherents. These people actually believe we want to destroy our planet.)

Garth Turner: Still Too Much of a Chicken to Face Criticism

I left another critical comment on Turner's blog yesterday. This time, it was a test to see if it would be removed again. Well, here are the results:


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

And number 2:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


Looks like the comment was removed (again). What a surprise! Garth's instructions to his tech people must be pretty clear: my critics must be silenced! Notice, however, that the disparaging comments about the CPC are still unscathed. I'll try again tomorrow to see if another comment will get deleted. It'll be a longer, more reasoned criticism this time.

Who knows, it could actually be Garth doing the comment deleting. I hear he has a lot of free time lately.

Polls, Polls, Polls.

From the ctv.ca main website: Poll Taken in Last week Shows Liberals ahead.


OTTAWA -- Respondents to a new national poll placed the federal Liberals ahead of the Conservatives for the first time in almost a year.

However, the narrow Liberal lead in the Decima poll was within the three-percentage-point margin of error, which means it's too close to say who's really ahead.

The Grits had the support of 33 per cent of respondents nationally, while the Tories had 31 per cent, the NDP had 15 per cent and the Green party had 10.



This is all fine and dandy to report on; There were other polls out last week which showed results that are slightly more encouraging for the Tories, but still not great.

Evironics had it close:

Conservative: 33%
Liberal: 32%
NDP: 19%
Bloc: 9%
Green: 5%

Environics also showed a healthy 63% of Canadians were satisfied with the way things were going in the country.

Angus-reid shows the Tories hanging on to the lead:

Conservatives - 31%
Liberals - 28%
NDP - 18%
BQ - 9%
Green - 9%

These polls are all recent, so they come in wake of the Income Trust announcement; The numbers aren't great, but that's to be expected in the wake of such a move. We can probably expect our numbers to go up slightly soon as investors get over their anger (most pundits agree that the Government made the right move). Additionally, while party fortunes are down in Quebec, the Tories seem to be neck and neck with the Liberals in Ontario, which is encouraging.

Personally though, I'd like to see some good news from the government, and fast. I remain confident, however, that Harper has an ace up his sleeve - he's proven to be a capable and confident leader before, and I think we'll see more of that in the future.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Garth Turner: Get That Light Away From Me!!!

Every time I head on over to Garth's blog (I don't think I can even count that on one hand), I find myself amused at the fact that there seems to be so few negative comments posted. The typical comment found at the Turner Report Blog is usually "Hi Garth, you're swell! How 'bout those Tories, huh? They sure don't seem to get it!"

Well, there's a reason for that: Garth (or his tech guy) deletes all of the negative comments left there. I left a critical comment (linking to Kate's satire of Turner's "all-me, all-the-time" style) and by the end of the day, surprise surprise, it had disappeared.'

I expected this. Politicians are always overly concerned about controlling the amount of criticism they receive in public, let alone if said politician's name is Garth Turner. But here's a hint, Turner. When you say:
"Garth Turner welcomes feedback, messages of support, or comments of criticism from all Canadians."*
You'd better follow through on it. Otherwise, you aren't telling the truth. And you're aware of what that would make you, aren't you Garth?

When you had my comment removed, you muzzled the free speech of a Canadian citizen. You censored me. And in doing so, for all your grandiose talk about how you're concerned over the "muzzling" of Tory MP's by the government, you showed yourself to be nothing more than a hypocrite. The motto of this blog is "politics is inherently stupid." When it comes to Garth, there's no question about it.





-EDIT- I got this message when trying to publish this post.
(sarcasm)
Wonder if Garth was involved. (sarcasm)

The Miracle of Duct Tape



The sad thing is, if this silly little prank were played on an "insurgent," it'd be considered torture. (I'd also like to point out that it took three or four guys close to four minutes to get this done. America is raising her girls right!)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

This moment of levity brought to you by Rex Murphy


"...Don't mock Don Cherry.

You are not worthy to unloose the great man's collar studs. A few of these petulant parliamentary pygmies even had the nerve to suggest that Don Cherry, the single most celebrated Canadian not doing a Las Vegas lounge act, should not be recognized as a distinguished visitor in our House of Commons.

Let me put this with extreme clarity. If people espousing the break-up of Canada, if a party advocating actual separatism from Canada can actually sit in the House of the Federation and receive salaries from the same federation they are desperate to leave, then, by the bobble-headed deity on my dashboard, Don Cherry can sit there as a distinguished visitor..."

(Emphasis mine.)

Well, at least those booing Liberal MP's (for example, the hon. Jean LaPierre) have their priorities straight. Well said, Rex.

h/t Southern Tory

Saturday, November 11, 2006

UT: 'Two Minutes of Silence'

I know it's late, But take two minutes of silence today for the vets, if you haven't already.

At work today, I made an announcement over the PA system asking everybody to please observe two minutes of silence for our Canadian war dead. It was a very nice few moments. People stopped talking and paused in silent reflection; Some even bowed their heads. It is indeed good to see that most Canadians really do understand and honor the meaning of the day. So here is our official Uncommon Truths 'two minutes of silence' to honor those men and women who made the supreme sacrifice in defending the rights and freedoms of all Canadians.

















Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hair Watch, Redux

Just so that we're all clear; The MSM will not be covering or discussing the sexist comments aimed at Rona Ambrose over her hair. We will, however, be subjected to two weeks worth of media coverage of liberal posturing over Ralph Klein's 'bone'-headed remark.

Yep, that sounds about right. Anyone hear Stronach offer her support to Ambrose, or criticize the "hair" comments as 'discouraging women from entering politics'?

Didn't think so.



Danté sez: All the huffing and puffing by Stronach that Klein's comments are discouraging women from entering politics are doing women more harm than any sexist remark ever could. The insinuation that politics needs to be toned down so that poor, delicate little women can take part sells women short by assuming that they're too weak to hack it otherwise. Of course the Liberals want women to feel as if they are oppressed. Pretending to care about womens' rights gets them votes, and they know it.

Wishful Thinking?

Caught this on the MSN homepage:



They may as well have, but all of congress? That's an overstatement.

-EDIT- Apparently, Congress can refer to both houses. Interesting.

Griff Sez: Danté, I still think it's a poorly written headline. If the author who penned used congress to refer to both houses, then there would have been no need to mention the U.S. senate in the line above it. I think they clearly meant to refer to each house separately. Just my two cents, everyone!

The Poppy

I realized long ago that the design of the poppy isn't the most stable one out there (although my multiple "in-and-out" hook-pinning technique seems to do the trick). Of course you're going to lose them. And so, when I was ten I came to the conclusion that they were trying to get people to "buy" as many of them as possible.

Is this a cruel, manipulative campaign that abuses the symbol of the poppy? Should you worry about those crafty Royal Canadian Legion Vets trying to fleece you out of your hard earned dough? Hell no. And instead of telling you why, I'm going to show you why:





I'll gladly donate money for as many poppies as necessary if they blow off my lapel. There is no "poppy price" - save that of the lives of tens of thousands of brave Canadian men (and lately, our brave women) who gave their lives for this nation during the First and Second World Wars, Korea, and beyond. In any event, you don't buy poppies, you make a voluntary donation for them.

If these men so freely gave their lives for us, why should you care if you have to drop another few quarters in the can for another poppy? My Veterans Affairs policy is simple: we owe them whatever the hell they want, no questions asked.

Anti-Americans Advocate on Behalf of...Americans?

Since when have the Liberals or the NDP ever advocated us following the lead of the Americans?

Only when it's politically expedient
, I guess.

Give Me A Break

The latest non-issue from the Globe and Mail:


OTTAWA -- Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay is coming under fire after his father used the fax machine in his constituency office to transmit letters defending businessman Karlheinz Schreiber, who is fighting extradition to Germany on fraud charges.

The Bloc Québécois has obtained letters faxed from the minister's Central Nova office in which Elmer MacKay, a former Conservative cabinet minister, attacked the RCMP investigation into Mr. Schreiber's business dealings in Canada.



The opposition is upset over the use of a fax machine? I presume the opposition now wishes that any Canadian who has ever let a family member use their office copy machine or telephone must submit to an investigation by the RCMP.

Here's an idea: Elmer KcKay is a constituent of Peter McKay's. And if a constituent makes a request to use his or her MP's fax machine for a legal purpose, such as lobbying the government on behalf of someone's well-being (as happens literally every day in your MP's office) it would be wrong for that MP to deny a constituent help.

This reminds me of a Dilbert cartoon:


© Douglas Adams

Hair Watch, Day 3: Still Waiting....

...For the media to pounce on the deplorable, sexist comments made about Rona Ambrose and her hair.


Anyone?


Anyone?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Pardon me for (not) sounding like an alarmist...

...But I sure hope the Federal Tories are paying attention to this. I know that this says otherwise, but that's two polls so far that put the difference down to a neck-and-neck race. I'm also aware of the conventional wisdom that says a leaderless party rises higher in the polls because people imagine it led by their ideal leader...and then quickly slides back down when the other shoe drops.

We shouldn't be overly worried though. Direct reaction to the income trust announcement is bound to be that of anger towards the current government, but that will soon dissipate (especially since almost every single every pundit agrees that Flaherty did the right thing, even if he had to break an election promise to do it).

I also know that PMSH has been paying special attention to the much-talked-about 'Quebec situation' as of late. It's reported that he's formed a taskforce to focus on how to restore the party's fortunes in Quebec; That's comforting knowledge. Generally, when PMSH gets serious about something, he can get the job done. (Anyone who thinks otherwise can try to explain how he managed to save reform from the brink of politcal collapse, unite the right after years of infighting, and form a viable government in the span of three years). Hopefully we'll see some greater visibility from our Quebec ministers (read: not Michael Fortier, who, by the way, bears an eerie resemblance to actor Jason Statham) and some appealing policies for Quebecers. To ignore the problem in Quebec is quite simply political suicide, and Harper had better be taking it seriously if he has any hopes of a majority government next time around.

So, all is not lost - far from it, actually. If our government is smart and hard-working, it will survive. Let's hope the political lessons the Tories have received lately haven't been lost on them.

Hey, it could be worse.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Dems Pick Up First New Seat

Apparently John Hostettler is out and Brad Ellsworth is in.

Ambrose's Hair!

And all it'll ever get is a quick blurb on CTV - because they'd look bad otherwise.

Galloway's Globe Deception

Some of my esteemed colleagues here at Blogging Tories have already been keeping a watch on Gloria Galloway's partisan "news" articles in the Globe and Mail, but today's bit of deception is noteworthy enough for me to mention:


While Canadians support the troops, they do not necessarily support the war in Afghanistan. Nearly 60 per cent of people polled in October by the Strategic Counsel for The Globe and Mail and CTV said they believe the price Canada is paying terms of casualties in that conflict is too high.

Let's take a closer look at that statement:


While Canadians support the troops, they do not necessarily support the war in Afghanistan.

Now let's take a look at the statistic cited to back that claim up:


Nearly 60 per cent of people polled in October by the Strategic Counsel for The Globe and Mail and CTV said they believe the price Canada is paying terms of casualties in that conflict is too high.

Galloway hopes we won't look to closely at what that statistic actually says - because it has absolutely nothing to do with the public's support for the Afghan mission. The factoid simply says that Canadians think the price being paid is high - a claim echoed by Defense Minister Gordon O'Connor himself. Galloway is attempting to cast public discomfort over losing soldiers as public discomfort over the mission itself.

What Galloway won't admit is that as of October 30th, a survey showed a majority of Canadians stand behind the Afghan mission. When Quebec is cut out of the scenario, 6 out of 10 Canadians support the mission.

It's beyond me how Galloway is allowed to run roughshod over the truth, but there you go. Welcome to the Canadian media. Yeesh.

The NDP: Getting Results for Canadians

I'd appreciate it if NDP MP Peter Julian stopped wasting my money and actually did his job instead of being an obstructionist oaf:


OTTAWA (CP) - A bit of old-fashioned political theatre is being played out in Ottawa today over the Canada-U.S. softwood lumber agreement.

The NDP has introduced nearly 100 proposed changes to Bill C-24 - the legislation that will bring into force the softwood lumber deal with the United States.

B.C. New Democrat Peter Julian is vowing to debate the amendments around the clock if necessary.

And so far, he has been talking almost non-stop, using an Oxford dictionary to debate words such as "the" and "any."

The committee has limited Julian to three minutes of debate for each amendment, which could see the proceedings continue beyond midnight eastern time.

NDP House Leader Libby Davies says Julian is trying to, among other things, lower the penalties on companies that don't participate in the softwood deal and eliminate what she calls the double taxation of Canadian lumber companies. *



When moral equivalency is your stock and trade, debating words like "the" and "any" must be a cakewalk. But hey, as long as you're "Getting Results for People."

H/T National Newswatch.

Terrorist Gets Life

And another one bites the dust...


LONDON, England (AP) -- A judge sentenced a top al Qaeda operative Tuesday to life in prison in a trans-Atlantic plot to bomb the New York Stock Exchange, the World Bank and landmark London hotels.

Judge Neil Butterfield denounced Dhiren Barot's plot to "slaughter hundreds -- if not thousands -- of wholly innocent men, women and children," and called the plan sophisticated, deadly and active. Seven others linked to Barot are to be tried in Britain next year.

Barot's sentence provides for the possibility of parole after 40 years.

"You have chosen to use your life to bring death and destruction to the Western world," Butterfield told Barot, who stared blankly as he heard the sentence. "You were planning to bring indiscriminate carnage, bloodshed and butchery ... on an unprecedented scale."

Scotland Yard pointed to Barot's capture as a victory against terrorism.

"For well over two years we have been unable to show the British public the reality of the threat they faced from this man. Now they can see for themselves the full horror of his plan," said Peter Clarke, the head of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist branch.

Barot, 34, planned a series of synchronized strikes in Britain -- including a plan to blow up a subway car as it passed through a tunnel below the River Thames -- as part of a plot to unleash a "memorable black day" of terror, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said British attacks were "imminent." They said Barot put the U.S. plot on hold after the September 11 terror attacks.

"... The conspiracy was in its final stages," prosecutor Edmund Lawson said.



Good riddance.

Duct Tape No Longer a Cure For Warts?

An American study conducted in October of 2002 concluded that duct tape was an effective and cheap method of removing common warts (Verruca vulgaris). Wart sufferers near and far rejoiced. The thinking behind the study went that the irritation produced by chemicals in the adhesive provoked an immune reaction at the site of attachment, thus eliminating the wart as a by-product.

Today, wart sufferers may have a reason not to stick to the novel remedy. A new study conducted by Swedish researchers appears to contradict the results of the previous study, and claims that duct tape is no more effective than a placebo in curing warts.

Well, the CBC makes it sound like it's a damning condemnation of a single erroneus study. While phoning test subjects to see if their warts disappeared is not nearly as effective as checking them directly, this new study isn't the last word on the duct tape debate. Through my university I have a subscription to a wealth of scientific journals, something I'm sure the CBC reporter doesn't have (and even so, he or she wouldn't necessarily understand them - journalism isn't exactly a scientific profession). So after searching the literature, I've actually found a number of articles confirming the duct tape cure as a success. The following are two of them:
  • Ibarra V, Blanco JR, Oteo JA, Rosel L. Efficacy of cidofovir in the treatment of recalcitrant molluscum contagiosum in an AIDS patient. Acta Derm Venereol 2000;80: 315–316.
  • Focht III, D.R.; Spicer, C.; Fairchok, M.P. Duct tape removes warts. Journal of Family Practice, Feb2003, Vol. 52 Issue 2, p111, 2p.
The first study is not as valid because they only used one patient as a test subject - not exactly a large test group. However, the second study used a significant sample size and the warts were observed by trained personnel in a hospital setting to determine if they had disappeared or not (it also had the amusing footnote that "one patient enrolled in the duct tape arm lost his study wart in a trampoline toe-amputation accident.")

So what does this mean for you wart sufferers? Put simply: the jury is still out. But until a greater body of evidence is accumulated, it probably won't hurt to keep that little strip of duct tape on that unsightly blemish.

Monday, November 06, 2006

OUTRAGE at the CBC

In the latest of a series of parliamentary "barnyard antics," NDP leader Jack Layton has called Prime Minister Stephen Harper a "chicken":


"I think the prime minister's chicken to go and hear from the leaders of Europe who are going to dress him down for breaking Canada's commitment on climate change," NDP Leader Jack Layton said.

Critics have said Harper is afraid to go to the summit in Finland, where global warming is expected to be a key issue, and where he may face rebuke for what some say is his abandonment of Canada's commitment to the Kyoto Protocol.

"We know why he cut and run from their meeting," Liberal interim leader Bill Graham said during question period on Monday. "He's afraid to defend his policy on climate change to European Union leaders."*



Layton then squawked in a chicken-like imitation and pantomimed a wing-flapping motion for added effect.

Somehow, I don't expect an endless debate over this fowl display of misandry to be played out in the national media over the next few weeks.

Global Warming: A Fact, So Get Used To It

- UPDATE1 - As both a conservative and as someone who's nearly finished a B.Sc, I will repeat: Al Gore style attempts to shock people in regards to climate change are silly at best. Worse, however, are attempts to deny climate change at all. We're not completely to blame for climate change, but we're sure as hell not helping with all our millions of inefficient dirty cars out there - and that's not even counting pollution from farming and industry. Surely we can make some non-drastic changes in the meantime in order to cut down on our emissions.

I'll see you all at Resolute by the pool.
............................

One of the great things about the Blogging Tories is the outstanding diversity of views expressed by members. We run the gamut from red tories to social conservatives, and we all get a chance to speak our minds. And sometimes, we say things that others may disagree with. With that out of the way, let me be direct:

Global warming is a fact. Get used to it.

There are far too many on the right who ignore the reality of global warming. Admittedly we're used to hearing those on the left spout "chicken little" theories on every issue out there, but there is still no reason why any intelligent person should dispute the facts behind global warming. Frankly, I find it embarassing that some of my esteemed colleagues here at BT refuse to acknowledge global warming as anything other than a "theory."

All I'm saying is this: dispute how global warming is affecting our planet. Dispute the causes behind global warming - is it mainly anthropogenic (yes) or is our planet going through a warming cycle (yes)? Refusing to acknowledge global warming, however, is foolish. I'm not asking you to go out there and hug David Suzuki, whose support for environmental protection acts varies depending upon which party is in government (Conservative = bad). I am, however, asking you to evaluate the facts as they stand.

That being said, I still agree that Kyoto is a seriously flawed economic treaty that will do nothing for the environment and will wreak havoc on the Canadian economy. It's not a plan we can afford to support by any means. We do need an alternative - and we have one.

All I'm asking is that when you're sunning yourself and sipping iced tea at the tropical resort of Resolute, you take a moment to consider my argument.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Jack Layton: Grandstander Extraordinaire

Another CTV poll gone horribly wrong.


Heh.

Give me a break.

From CTV :


OTTAWA -- Opposition MPs are calling on media organizations to fire a former Brian Mulroney aide for referring to Belinda Stronach as a bitch.

A British Columbia MP, New Democrat Dawn Black, says it's shocking that anyone would use Norman Spector as a political commentator after his remarks.

Spector told a Vancouver radio talk show that Stronach's breakup with Conservative MP Peter MacKay, as well as a role she is alleged to have had in the marital problems of former Toronto Maple Leaf Tie Domi, means she is a bitch.

Spector, who was also Canada's ambassador to Israel, did not back down from the remarks.

In an interview with the Globe and Mail, he pointed to the Oxford English Dictionary's definition of a bitch as someone who is malicious or treacherous.

But Judy Wasylycia-Leis, another New Democrat MP, says Spector's comments were unforgivable and hurt women everywhere.



So, does this mean that if some one calls me a 'bastard', they've insulted 'men everywhere'? Or was that just a ridiculous talking point from a New Democrat Party MP? Enquiring minds want to know.

Let's be honest here; the only person 'hurt' by these comments is Belinda Stronach. Politics is a tough business and you have to expect people to call you nasty names every once in a while. Anger at politicians knows no gender bias, so it's about time we stopped being silly and pretending that it does.

On a side note, Mr. Mackay made a vague reference that indirectly compared his ex-girlfriend to a dog, and was hounded for three weeks by the media. Mr. Spector straight up called her a bitch; any bets as to how long he'll be in the dog house for? Probably a day or so.

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